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Rollins Student Takes Heat for Immigration Essay PDF Print
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Friday, 25 March 2011 05:06

   WINTER PARK – Jamie Pizzi, a freshman at Rollins College, said she never meant to come across as racist or hateful in the opinion piece she wrote for the campus newspaper last week.

   But the essay that's sharply critical of immigrant children has spurred an outcry from some students and faculty.

  And while she's upset by all the negative attention — including nasty e-mails and comments left on The Sandspur website — she said she stands by her writing.

  "I don't regret what I wrote," Pizzi said. "I regret it was taken that way."

Pizzi's essay questions whether babies born in the United States to illegal immigrants should be automatically given U.S. citizenship. It's accompanied by a picture of a green alien that has apparently taken a guy's clothing and TV.

"These 'anchor babies,' as they are commonly referred, gain full citizenship from simply being born on American soil, and they are entitled to all the same benefits as you and I, including: free public school educations, financial aid for college and even Medicaid," she writes.

The strong reaction from faculty, students and others prompted a big gathering Thursday afternoon in the Bush Science Center auditorium. An estimated 200 to 300 people turned out — a significant crowd for the small private college in Winter Park, organizers said.

Everyone took turns expressing themselves and sharing their views on free press and the role of a school newspaper.

Although members of the paper's staff said they were shocked at the criticism the piece drew — two faculty members even blasted it in e-mails they distributed campus-wide, they said -- they were also glad so many people turned out for Thursday's discussion.

Nick Zazulia, the editor of The Sandspur, said he'd like to see more students step forward to share their opinions in the paper. It needs a diverse range of views, he said.

"One of my great hopes is this will act as a catalyst for that," he said.

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