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UNLV Teacher Promise To Undocumented Students: I'll Turn You In


A UNLV math teacher has threatened to call immigration agents on any student he finds to be undocumented.

In posts on Facebook this week, he also said they were breaking the law and called them criminals.

The comments on Facebook are attributed to part-time instructor George Buch in the Math Department. He did not respond to email messages or a message left for him with the Math Department.

UNLV has issued a statement saying they would look into it. A representative for UNLV's Office of Compliance did not return a call for comment.

Carlos Fernandez is the president of Consolidated Students of the University of Nevada. He told KNPR's State of Nevada the statement flies in the face of UNLV's purpose.

 “There is just so much wrong with that statement," he said, "At UNLV, it is a place of learning. It is an environment where we should be there solely for the purpose of education.”

Buch's comment come after UNLV President Len Jessup recently signed onto a letter of support, along with dozens of other college presidents across the country, for students born of parents who came to this country illegally. These are people who fall under an executive action of President Barack Obama called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program

Under DACA, students born of undocumented parents would be spared deportation action, at least temporarily.

The math teacher's comments also follow a letter from the Rogers Foundation, a major donor to the university, urging the campus to declare itself a sanctuary for undocumented staff, students and their family members.

The fears arise from the rhetoric and promises of President-elect Donald Trump, who campaigned that one of his first moves in office will be to arrest and deport millions of undocumented immigrants.

Chair of the Rogers Foundation Beverly Rogers said the letter was sent because she has seen students who are worried.

“I think there are a lot of people particularly students who are just plain scared of the president-elect’s threats,” she said.

Rogers said the letter is call to action, and they've already received feedback about it.  

Congresswoman Dina Titus said her office has been "deluged" with phone calls from people worried about what will happen under a Trump Administration.

Titus is a professor emeritus at UNLV. She said Buch's comments go beyond his role as an educator.

“He is hired as a teacher not a police officer," she said, "To say to students, in the classroom, who are there to learn not to make some kind of political statement that, ‘I’m going to have you arrested,’ I think is in appropriate at the very least.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Buch apologized online for his comments, and said he meant them as a "joke."

For his part, Fernandez does not accept the apology and does not consider Buch's statements a "joke."

Beverly Rogers, chair, The Rogers Foundation; Carlos Fernandez, president, Consolidated Students of the University of Nevada; Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.