Prof bans the term 'illegal immigrants' on final exams

A University of Southern California professor is asking students not to use the term “illegal immigrants” on their final exams.

The instruction was issued by a teaching assistant in Prof. Alicia Chavez’s AMST 301 course, “America, the Frontier, and the New West,” a general education course that is described as “an interdisciplinary study of American political, cultural, and social life with a particular emphasis on the Western United States as a region.”

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“Hi everyone,” the email reads. “One last message from me for the semester: on your final exams please refrain from using the term, ‘illegal immigrant’ to refer to human beings, -as Professor Chavez has requested (or mandated.) Instead please use ‘undocumented immigrant’ or ‘unauthorized entry’ to describe folks’ status or how they may have arrived in the US.”

The student who shared the screenshot called the decree just one of many instances of anti-conservative bias, which they fear has negatively impacted their grade in the class, arguing that the rhetorical restriction represents an attack on intellectual freedom and free speech.

After the original email was posted online, the teacher’s assistant sent an additional email, saying that the student who had sent the email had been “ratted out” by a friend.

Professor Chavez did not return request for comment in time for publication.

In addition, USC is offering another class that will “critically examine the social and political conflicts that arise” from migration and the “current activism in Standing Rock as water protectors hold off the construction of a destructive oil pipeline.”

A flyer advocating for the class uses a picture of Geronimo, an Apache warrior noted for his fierce opposition to both American and Mexicans on his land, alongside a meme of Donald Trump saying “Mexicans are coming.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @elias_atienza