An Indiana Senate committee approved a measure to make sanctuary universities illegal in the state this week, prohibiting universities from admitting undocumented immigrants.
Senate Bill 423 was brought to the Corrections and Criminal Law Committee, with six voting yes and two opposed.
The bill to make sanctuary universities illegal is still in progress.
Under the bill, undocumented students will still be protected under the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program, which allowed universities to admit these students. The bill, authored by Republicans Sen. Michael Young and Michael Delph, defines and prohibits state colleges from establishing a sanctuary environment.
However, if President Donald Trump repeals the program as part of his set of orders to increase immigration enforcement, Indiana universities will no longer be able to allow undocumented immigrants.
In response, the Ethnic Theatre Alliance held a peaceful protest on campus Thursday against efforts to bar undocumented students.
The group wants to make Ball State a sanctuary campus and demonstrate student opposition to the "violent bill," ETA vice president Jennifer Popovich said.
"Imagine a stranger coming to your house, searching your house, and then kicking you out of something you have worked so hard to accomplish," Popovich said.
The alliance is calling for the campus to be a sanctuary to all immigrants because ETA believes the country is where it is today because of immigration, she said.
"Immigrant students are not the problem," said junior acting major Jacob Barnes. "They're trying to further themselves, trying to further their families, educate themselves. America is made up of immigrants. They are the backbone of our society, and especially with the divisiveness that's in the political realm right now, people are succumbing to that. This event is to stand in solidarity with the immigrant community."
Protesters, some chanting "social justice is love in action," met on University Green and marched across campus.
"We are walking in the wrong direction in many areas, such as immigration and bathroom policies," said Veronica Santoyo, an assistant professor of theatre and dance.
Barnes said ETA won't stop with Thursday's protest.
"There is too much hatred and fear in this world, and it feels like it is just escalating, and we are taking a stance against it," Barnes said.