Education

SGA Rep At Public University Ousted Over Tweets Opposing In-State Tuition For Illegal Immigrants

George Mason University’s student government removed a representative from office last week over Tweets that criticized illegal immigration.

After removing Storm Paglia from his position as executive undersecretary for dining services, student body president Philip Abbruscato released a statement to the student government on February 22.

“Student Government does not in any way condone or endorse these comments,” Abbruscato wrote. “Student Government has always, and will continue to, embrace the diversity of thought and opinion within our organization and at our university. Demeaning or profane remarks of any kind made by members of Student Government will not be tolerated at any level regardless of belief.”

“Our organization embraces a multitude of students and ideas and our diversity sparks innovation; new ideas emerge when different points of view come together,” the student body president stated.

Paglia’s views about illegal immigration, however, were not to be permitted under the “diversity of thought and opinion” and “multitude of ideas.”

The “demeaning” and “profane” remarks made by Paglia were as follows:

(Photo: Twitter)

(Photo: Twitter)

Paglia’s Twitter account has since been made private.

Paglia’s tweets were in reference to the decision by Virginia Attorney General, Mark Herring, to grant children of illegal immigrants in-state tuition for public universities in Virginia, including George Mason University. A recent bill in the Virginia legislature to try to repeal this decision failed.

As of the spring 2015 semester, in-state tuition at George Mason University for a full credit load (12-16 credits) is $5,091.00. For an out-of-state student, tuition is $14,880.00. In order for an out-of-state student to qualify for in-state tuition rates, they must establish Virginia domicile. The criteria for establishing domicile includes being asked to provide proof of “social and economic ties” to Virginia, “ownership of real property”, and income tax records.

In a statement given to the Daily Caller, Paglia wrote: “Yes, I called illegal immigrants “illegals” in a tweet. Yes, I was removed from George Mason University Student Government for using that word in a tweet. No, I do not find the term offensive, and I did not mean any offense by it.”

“My tweets, aimed toward the state legislature in Virginia, were an expression of free speech petitioning my government officials,” the former student representative told TheDC. “Unfortunately, the George Mason University Student Government found it so politically incorrect that I was forcibly removed from my position as executive undersecretary of university services for dining services.”

“While I am disappointed about being removed from my position in Student Government, and the manner in which it was done, I am optimistic this will start a productive conversation about some of the more hypocritical politically correct policies at George Mason University,” Paglia said.

Asked if his position on in-state tuition for illegal immigrants impacted his decisions in student government, Paglia responded, “I do not believe my comments or beliefs impacted any of my decisions while in the role whatsoever. Also — to my knowledge, there are no illegal immigrants employed by our dining system.”

Abbruscato did not respond to a request for comment.