Are int’l students interested in the STUSU election?

Maiko Tanabe – The Aquinian

Some international students are uninterested in the upcoming STUSU election, just like other students, but maybe for different reasons.

Chiemi Sakai, a second-year international student, said she’s not even sure when the election is and if she’s going to vote, because she’s not sure her vote would affect her university life as an international student.

“I voted for the STUISA election, because it would affect me,” she said. “But I’m not sure if I’m going to vote for the election because I don’t think that issues that concern international students are focused that much.”

One thing that concerns many international students is raising tuition. As the domestic tuition freeze continues, tuition for international students just keeps going up. This year, international tuition is $12,000, up from $9,690 last year.

Sakai says she would be interested in the election if she feels the concerns she has are discussed in the election.

“If issues like international tuition are included in the election, it may bring more attention but so far, it’s not been a part of it much as far as I know.”

Ella Henry, one of the candidates for president, says coming to terms with the university not to increase the international tuition won’t be easy, but lobbying the provincial government to apply the tuition-freeze for all the students will be a step to make it happen.

The other two candidates, Melissa Bastarache and Mark Livingstone, agree that is a way to achieve the goal.

Craig Mazerolle, a candidate for Vice President Education, also says we can make it happen if we work together with the administration and the provincial government.

He says in 2008, when Memorial University of Newfoundland proposed a ten per cent increase in international tuition, the Student Union at the university took a strong opposition against it and negotiated with the provincial government and the administration, and eventually they agreed with the university that wouldn’t happen.

“Achieving an agreement with the university to not increase international student tuition during domestic tuition freeze will be no easy feat, but when we look to places like Newfoundland, we soon realize that such a goal is possible,” he said. “We need to stop expecting international students to carry ever increasing debt loads.”

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