[lg policy] Students’ Council renews advocacy policy on international student issues

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Sun Sep 30 14:32:37 EDT 2018

Students’ Council renews advocacy policy on international student issues The
new policy includes several new points, including one on English language
requirements Adam Lachacz <https://www.thegatewayonline.ca/author/alachacz/>
18 hours ago
2 minutes read
Richard Bagan

The Students’ Union is revisiting the document outlining their stance on
international student issues.

On September 18, Students’ Council passed the first reading of a new
version of their political policy on internationalization, which will be
used to guide their advocacy for international student concerns. Council
voted unanimously to approve the policy.

SU political policies outline the main goals of the organization’s advocacy
efforts. The current internationalization policy
is set to expire in April of 2020.

Stephen Raitz, Student Council’s policy committee chair, said the SU
decided to revisit the policy to ensure it was up to date with
international students concerns.

“International students have unique needs,” Raitz said. “More and more of
them are facing hurdles to their education… We need to be meeting these
[challenges] head on.”

According to Raitz, universities in Canada have begun to rely more on
international student enrolment. He added that after last year’s international
student tuition increase
<https://www.thegatewayonline.ca/2018/02/int-tuition-rise-by-3-14-pcent/> of
3.14 per cent, it is becoming more important for the SU to proactively
defend international student interests.

“The proportion of international students on campus is increasing,” Raitz
said. “Our policy recognizes this while working to have their needs met in
a predictable and transparent manner.”

Three resolutions have been added to the new internationalization policy,

   - Refusing to support any increases in English language requirements
   without consulting international students.
   - Advocating to raise the student aid cap set by the federal government
   for international students.
   - Advocating that the university provide trauma-informed support
   services for international students.

Of the three new included resolutions, Council debated whether to support
increases in English language requirements. These requirements are
instituted by the university to ensure international students are properly
prepared and have a proficient level of language comprehension before they
arrive to study.

Board of governors representative Levi Flaman said he’s heard from
international students saying they are not opposed to increases in English
language requirements because it ensures they’re ready to perform well in a
university environment where English may not be their first language.

“English language requirements are not really designed to keep these
students out, but more to keep them in,” Flaman said. “If somebody skirts
by [the requirement level] and get in, in a semester… they realize that
they cannot understand professors well.”

Native studies councillor Nathan Sunday said that the international
students he consulted said they do not approve of increases to English

“International students said they wanted this [policy resolution] in here,”
Sunday said. “If any time an English language requirement is brought up,
international students should be given an opportunity to have their say.”

The previous iteration of the internationalization policy included
advocating the federal government to increase the number of permanent
residencies for undergraduate students issued under the Canadian Experience
Class Program
<http://www.canadianimmigration.net/immigration/experience-class/>, and to
issue multiple-entry visas to all international students. Raitz said these
resolutions were dropped from the internationalization policy to be
included instead under the upcoming student employment policy.

While the majority of the drafting and research was completed by last
year’s policy committee, Raitz said the remainder of the work was left to
this year’s council.

“This policy covers us and international students in a longer term
mentality,” Raitz said. “We can look to provide for them better now.”

After passing first reading, the proposed policy will now head to policy
committee to incorporate amendments. It will be presented to council for a
second reading where it will be finalized.

“The work that was done to update this policy has only made it stronger,”
Raitz said.

The next meeting of Students’ Council is on October 2 at Augustana Campus

 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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