The "Conference on Immigration in the Southeast: Defining Problems, Finding Solutions" will take place through Saturday at the KSU Center on Busbee Drive. Guest speakers, panel sessions and a final session focused on producing a white paper on immigration are planned.
The report and panels at the conference will promote an understanding of the problems associated with immigration, with an emphasis on suggesting practical solutions to challenges that threaten economic growth and social strength in the southeast, according to the event Web page.
But some anti-illegal immigration activists, such as D.A. King of Kennesaw, have expressed concerns about whether both sides of the illegal immigration debate will be presented at the conference. Concerns have also been raised about the cost to taxpayers for having a possible one-sided conference and late public notification of the event.
King said he believes the presenters listed on the conference's schedule - who include those from the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institute, several universities, and the consul general offices of Mexico and Guatemala - have a pro-illegal immigration agenda.
"There is a vast difference between education and indoctrination," King said. "This three-day event seems like immense taxpayer-funded overkill on the latter."
The university sent no notifications to the Journal concerning the conference. Conference information was posted online on the A.L. Burruss Institute of Public Policy and Research's website; however, Dr. Richard Engstrom, interim director, said he had nothing to do with organizing the conference.
King believes it was purposely kept quiet.
Other calls and e-mails to the university were not returned by press time.
The conference is sponsored by the Center for Latin American and Iberian Studies, Center for Regional History and Culture, and Maya Heritage Community Project at KSU, according to the university. The Consortium for Latino Immigration Studies at the University of South Carolina, Centro de Investigaciones Sobre America del Norte of the Universidad Nacional Aut noma de Mexico, and Emory University's sociology department and women's studies department are also listed as sponsors.
According to the website, there is a $55 registration fee, paid at the conference, that will include meals. However, it is not clear if the university is paying expenses related to travel, lodging or speaking fees.
Since the spring, KSU had been at the center of a debate storm over illegal immigrants attending public colleges and universities in Georgia.
Jessica Colotl, a KSU student whose arrest on traffic charges last spring led to her detention on immigration charges, sparked the controversy. The incident led to a vote earlier this month by the state Board of Regents to ban illegal immigrants from attending certain public colleges beginning next fall.
This fall, a new 14-member, all-Republican committee of the General Assembly will meet to find ways to prevent illegal immigration in Georgia.