I write to set the record straight regarding recent Marietta Daily Journal articles about KSU's role in the Jessica Colotl matter.
Although Ms. Colotl was arrested on March 30, KSU's administration did not become aware of her arrest until April 26. On that date, we were informed that she was arrested for obstructing traffic and driving without a license; that she had an expired Mexican passport; and that she was in the custody of the Immigration Control and Enforcement Agency.
With that being the extent of our knowledge, I asked KSU Attorney Flora Devine to determine Ms. Colotl's status. Ms. Devine called the Mexican consulate and a former Mexican consul general to make them aware of Ms. Colotl's situation. She also contacted Ms. Colotl's lawyer. Meanwhile, KSU's chief student affairs officer talked with the president of Ms. Colotl's sorority to inquire what assistance KSU could provide.
On April 28, I talked with Ms. Colotl's lawyer, who asked if I would submit a letter in the form of an affidavit for Ms. Colotl, whose case was to be heard on April 30 by the Atlanta Immigration Court. I did so, with the letter being based on the facts as we understood them on April 28. The letter in part reads: "I write to request that within the letter of the law (emphasis added), Jessica be provided every opportunity to stay at, or return to, Kennesaw State University."
That was, and is, the extent of KSU's involvement in Ms. Colotl's case.
On April 30, the Immigration Court ruled that Ms. Colotl had to leave the United States within 20 days. The case was closed.
On May 5, ICE informed Ms. Colotl that she could stay in the country until May 5, 2011, to complete her studies. No one at KSU was involved in, or lobbied for, that decision.
Let me now turn to the Around Town column on Tuesday headlined "No Mas!" which implies that I avoided talking with the MDJ. I did not learn about the interview request until 2:30 p.m. Monday, at which time I was off campus attending to several pressing university matters. I simply did not have time to talk that day and instructed KSU's spokeswoman to re-issue the statement KSU issued last Friday as a final statement. I have always been, and remain, willing to talk with the MDJ, even though I am not always able to do so immediately.
Finally, while KSU did assist Ms. Colotl as related above, no effort to "spring her from an Alabama immigration jail and let her pay in-state tuition" ever occurred. Now that Ms. Colotl has been identified as undocumented, she will pay out-of-state tuition, as do all other known undocumented students.
Please be assured that KSU and I comply fully with the letter and intent of U.S. and Georgia law, and with Board of Regents policies. At the same time, we are pleased that ICE, with no KSU involvement, allowed Ms. Colotl to pursue the completion of her degree before she returns to Mexico.
I hope that this clarifies what actually did, and did not, occur.
Kennesaw State University