Public attitudes about undocumented students have been at a divide between those opposed and those in support of Assembly Bill 540 and the DREAM Act.
After Associated Students, Inc. President Pedro Ramirez confirmed to The Collegian that he was an undocumented student, people came forth to express their admiration and frustration with the face of Fresno State students being an immigrant. Backlash ensued when The Collegian covered a series of articles regarding Ramirez. Concerns were raised that college newspapers should not report on such social issues.
A survey by Dr. Tamyra Pierce, chair of the of the mass communication and journalism department, in conjunction with The Collegian online, conducted Dec. 16, 2010 – March 19, 2011, among 357 adults, found that 86 percent said they know an undocumented individual, while 78 percent said they know an undocumented student.
Half are strongly in favor of AB 540, which allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition in order to attend a four-year college or university, 27 percent are strongly not in favor; 14 percent said they were neutral.
The majority of respondents answered “yes” when asked if they can define AB 540. When asked to actually define the bill in a few words, 107 respondents skipped the question, the most skipped question on the survey.
Half are strongly in favor of the DREAM Act, which allows some undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship by either serving in the military or attending college, while 31 percent are strongly not in favor; 6 percent said they were neutral.
The majority of respondents answered “yes” when asked if they can define the DREAM Act, 77 respondents skipped the question.
The survey respondents indicated that 66 percent say college newspapers should report on social issues. It’s when newspapers advocate for social issues that attitudes differ: 38 percent say they believe college newspapers should advocate for social issues, while 27 percent say sometimes; 35 percent say no.