SMC — The Santa Monica College Board of Trustees approved a resolution Tuesday to economically boycott Arizona until it repeals its controversial new immigration law, the college announced Thursday, following similar moves by the City Council.
The boycott will mainly focus on refraining from attending meetings and conferences in Arizona, said Randal Lawson, SMC’s executive vice president. SMC will also look into if they have any contracts with Arizona companies and refrain from future contracts, but Lawson said he does not believe there are many, if any, current or future contracts to worry about.
Lawson said he believes most organizations that previously hosted events in Arizona will now choose to have their conferences elsewhere, but for those who do not, SMC will not be in attendance.
The new Arizona law criminalizes the failure to carry immigration documents and gives police the power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Since it was signed into law in April, a number of groups have enacted economic boycotts of Arizona, including Santa Monica’s City Council last week, citing the possibility of harassment and discrimination against Latinos in Arizona.
SMC also disproves of an Arizona law approved around the same time as the immigration law that prohibits Arizona school districts and charter schools from offering certain ethnic studies classes and programs, Lawson said.
“The board finds the legislation offensive against all we stand for,” he said. “At least symbolically, it’s denying certain ethnic groups’ existence.”
Unlike City Hall’s boycott, which will allow exceptions for specialized contracts that would be difficult or costly to change, SMC’s boycott will be absolute, Lawson said. Because most business is already done in California, he does not think that will be a difficult goal.
“With anything, there are going to be unforeseen circumstances,” Lawson said, “but the only way to approach this is to assume it’s absolute.”