The University of California Student Association created a new officer position Sunday to support international students in the UC.
At the UCSA board meeting at UC Merced, board members unanimously passed a resolution calling for the addition of an international student affairs officer for the new academic year. The resolution also asks the University to allocate part of the nonresident tuition it increased at the University of California Board of Regents meeting last month to provide specialized support to international students.
The representative’s responsibilities will include working with other UC student governments and international student groups on advocacy initiatives and making recommendations to the UCSA to enhance international students’ experiences.
The resolution also recommends student governments at all UC campuses establish international representation within their organizations. UCLA’s undergraduate student government voted earlier this month to place the international student representative position on the spring 2018 ballot.
The officer will also collaborate and meet with the Office of the President in order to improve accessibility to financial aid, scholarships and federal grants for international students. They will also discuss issues undocumented students face, such as visa revocations and access to financial aid.
Parshan Khosravi, a UCSA treasurer and UCLA GSA vice president of external affairs, said he thinks the position is important because there is no systemwide body to advocate for international student issues. He added he thinks the position is especially important after the regents raised nonresident tuition last month.
“There was a lot of frustration and momentum after the vote for tuition increase, particularly for international students,” he said. “It seemed like they were forgotten and put under the bus by the UCs, who try to advocate for everybody but fail to do so when it comes to international students.”
Eric Hu, UCSA academic affairs officer and one of the resolution’s sponsors, said he thinks the office will have a long-lasting impact on international students because it is the first of its kind.
“UCSA has a number of appointed positions and each is in charge of their area but no one had the power to advocate for international students and their concerns,” he said. “This position will allow for that.”
Kayla He, UCLA undergraduate student association council general representative 2 and a co-sponsor of the resolution, said she thinks the UC has not been proactive in supporting international students, and the students have historically not had much representation.
”For example, in (USAC’s) history, only two international students have ever been elected to office,” she said.
Ashraf Beshay, a fifth-year biology student and an author of the resolution, said one of the clauses reinvests $1,000 of each nonresident’s supplemental tuition to campus services that will help address the financial and academic needs of international students.
“One of the clauses that we have in the resolution is to demand that campuses conduct surveys for international students to determine what their concerns are and what their financial status is throughout their years,” he said. “That money would go to address needs such as paying for housing, food or even tuition.”
The position be established during the 2018 to 2019 academic year.