Marquette doubles down on campaign against the 'i-word'

Zachary Petrizzo
Washington, D.C. Senior Campus Correspondent

  • Marquette University has elaborated on its guidance urging students to “drop the ‘i-word’" when referring to illegal immigrants, saying the term “illegal” violates a cherished legal principle.
  • According to the school, the term "strips others of their humanity" and "eschews one of our most fundamental and cherished legal principles of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."
  • Marquette University has elaborated on its guidance urging students to “drop the ‘i-word’" when referring to illegal immigrants, saying the term “illegal” violates a cherished legal principle.

    As Campus Reform recently reported, a page on Marquette’s Diversity and Inclusion website admonishes students to use terms like “undocumented” or “unauthorized” because referring to someone as an “illegal immigrant” is “inaccurate” and “dehumanizing.”

    "The term 'illegal immigrant' eschews one of our most fundamental and cherished legal principles of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law."   

    [RELATED: Marquette begs students not to use 'the i-word' for illegals]

    Shortly after the original report, and without issuing a formal statement, the university proceeded to edit the webpage and expand upon its “undocumented student terminology.”

    Under the revised “Undocumented” section of the webpage, the school reinforces its criticism of the term “illegal immigrant,” asserting that it “eschews one of our most fundamental and cherished legal principles of innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.” 

    “Moreover, about half of all undocumented people entered the country legally and overstayed their visas, and their presence in the United States while being out of status is not a criminal violation of the law,” the school adds, drawing a distinction between “unlawful” presence in the country and violation of a criminal statute.

    ORIGINAL:

    REVISED:

    In another edit, the university added a reference to “Catholic social teaching” when justifying its consistent recommendation to drop the “i-word.”

    “Grounded in Catholic social teaching, we are called to uphold the inherent dignity of every person and we encourage our campus community to avoid using language that strips others of their humanity,” the page now explains before stating that “When referring to an individual who is residing in the United Stated without authorization from the federal government, we would encourage you to drop the ‘i-word’ in favor of terms such as ‘undocumented’ or ‘unauthorized’ immigrant.”

    [RELATED:College Republicans cause panic with immigration event]

    In addition to the Diversity and Inclusion website, the school’s College of Education website likewise suggests that students create a “safe space” for illegals and “deal directly with any derogatory language or behaviors from peers that are rooted in condescending attitudes towards immigrants and use these as teachable moments.”

    That website, which does not appear to have been modified, also encourages instructors to “be sensitive in their use of language, favoriting terminology such as ‘undocumented/ unauthorized immigrants’ and making known that use of the terms ‘illegals’ or ‘illegal immigrants/aliens’ will not be tolerated in their classrooms.”

    Marquette has not responded to Campus Reform’s request for comment on the revisions.

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    Zachary Petrizzo

    Zachary Petrizzo

    Washington, D.C. Senior Campus Correspondent

    Zachary Petrizzo is a Washington, D.C. Senior Campus Correspondent, and reports liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. He studies Political Science and Theological Studies at The Catholic University of America.

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