Allowing undocumented students to pay in-state tuition is the “morally right thing to do,” University of Texas System Chancellor William McRaven said Thursday.
“My job is to help educate the young men and women of Texas,” McRaven said in an interview with Texas Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith. “If we have been doing that for these undocumented students for, at a minimum, the past three years as they’ve made it through high school, and in many cases since they were in elementary school, I think it’s appropriate to continue to educate them.”
“If not, where will those undocumented students end up?” he said.
During the hourlong interview, McRaven, who became chancellor last month, also reiterated his concerns with proposals to allow concealed weapons on college and university campuses in Texas.
Several Republican lawmakers have introduced bills to repeal House Bill 1403, known as the Texas Dream Act. The law allows undocumented college students to pay in-state tuition if they have lived in Texas for three years and graduated from high school in the state.
Lawmakers have tried repeatedly to repeal the Dream Act since it was passed in 2001. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has said he aims to repeal the law.
Critics of the law say it provides a reward and incentive for illegal immigration and unfairly burdens legal U.S. residents who have to pay out-of-state tuition.
McRaven, a retired admiral and former commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, also spoke against allowing guns on campus.
“If you have guns on campus, I question whether or not that will somehow inhibit our freedom of speech,” McRaven said. “If you’re in a heated debate with somebody in the middle of a classroom, and you don’t know whether or not that individual is carrying, how does that inhibit the interaction between students and faculty?”
Smith asked if the same argument could be made against guns not on campus.
“Of course it could, but I don’t control life off campus,” McRaven said.
In a letter to lawmakers last month, McRaven expressed concern that allowing guns on campus will lead to more accidents and self-inflicted injuries.
Below is a video of McRaven's comments on in-state tuition.