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USC Professor Warns Students Not To Say “Illegal I...

USC Professor Warns Students Not To Say “Illegal Immigrant”

A Teaching Assistant at the University of Southern California sent out an email to students mandating that the term “illegal immigrant” be exchanged for a more politically correct term on their final exam.

According to the TA, Professor Chavez, who teaches “America, The Frontier, and the New West,” mandated that students use “undocumented immigrant,” or “unauthorized entry” instead of the term “illegal immigrant.”

Not only are the students’ grades dependent upon the use of these terms, the class is one of the courses required for graduation.

The course is one of the two courses a student takes under the General Education (GE) Humanistic Inquiry category. Students who have ideological beliefs that may conflict with these courses could have their degrees on the line.

The GE program disallows students from having freedom over their courses. This is especially an issue when it comes to students who are double majoring or going into STEM courses; despite The fact that STEM courses are still the highest paying and most in demand when they graduate.

Students attending USC, a private university, pay over $52,000 in tuition and fees, all the while facing inflexible course requirements with clearly biased ideologies. According to an anonymous source at USC, the prompt for the longer essay with the mandated word requirements are 3-4 pages. The prompt is as follows:

Historically, the North American West has been imagined as a geography of leisure, opportunity, entertainment, and wealth, and also as a place where people of color could live outside of the structures of inequality.  However, by 1992, Los Angeles became associated with severe racial and class conflict.  How would you characterize the nature of lived experience in the West by the late 19th through the early 21st century?  Is it a region that has maintained long-held hierarchies of inequality that continue to circumscribe people’s lives?  Is it a region that has opened new opportunities for persons or communities that could not find them in other places?

The prompt for the shorter essay, which must be 1-2 pages with a minimum of 3 paragraphs, is as follows:

Compare and contrast the struggle with questions of identity, belonging, survival, and economic equality in the Alexie and the Urrea texts.

The Alexie text is in reference to The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie, Urrea is in reference to The Devil’s Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea.

The USC source told Refined Right that Professor Chavez is limiting the personal freedoms of the students, saying, “She is limiting our constitutional right of freedom of expression for the final exam assignment.”

In a follow up email, the TA informed the class that they were not permitted to speak on course related correspondence.

“NONE of you have my permission to screenshot emails sent to the class so that you may post them on Facebook,” the TA said. “Not only is it in bad taste, but you would do well to avoid violating classroom and university policies regarding confidentiality. Your friend has ratted you out.”

Refined Right’s research, however, found that the emails are not confidential.


Hannah is a Sophomore at the University of North Dakota where she is majoring in English and Classical Studies with a minor in Political Science. When she isn't traveling she can be found with a cup of coffee in one hand, and a book in the other.

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