Nov 132003
 
Authors: Carl McCutchen

CSU international students with issues they would like addressed

or who feel uncomfortable around campus now have a place to get

heard.

The International Student Advising Committee, created this

semester by the Department of International Student and Scholar

Services, provides international students with the ability to

address concerns to the administration.

The committee, currently comprised of eight members, meets twice

a semester to discuss issues that have been brought to them by

other international students, such as visa issuance, health

insurance, cultural awareness and communication/language barriers.

The committee has met twice, with the most recent one Tuesday.

The members of ISAC also advise officials at the university

about concerns and discuss ideas on what can be done to address

those issues.

Kristy Magner, an employee of International Student and Scholar

Services, said that when ISAC needs to address a concern, the

administration would try to get the proper parties involved.

“If there is a concern with a specific department, we will bring

a spokesperson from that department and see if there is a way to

make things smoother,” she said. “In general, we try to bring

someone related to talk about possibilities.”

Sangita Kalarickal, a member of ISAC, feels the committee can be

a success, but only if enough students know about it and

participate in it.

“The success of this group depends on the participation from the

students, and this in turn depends on the education of the students

about this committee,” she said in an e-mail. “We feel that it is

important that we get the word out to all international students

that there is a peer group they can go to, if there is an issue

bothering them.”

Mark Hallett, director of International Student and Scholar

Services and primary organizer of the committee, said some of the

reasons for creating the committee were because of recent changes

to international student laws and an increase in workload to the

International Programs office because of those changes. Hallett

also said another reason for creating the committee was that some

international students may not feel as comfortable around campus

because of events in the last few years, and having a way to

address the issues that concern them might help change their level

of comfort.

“Those kind of things create a feeling different from before,”

he said.

Hallett added that the main emphasis of the committee is to

provide a means of communication between students and

administrators.

“I think it’s always useful to have input from those you serve,”

he said. “You want to maintain good communication.”

Carla Puky-Wust, an international student pursuing a second

bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, said that has not felt

uncomfortable around campus but that ISAC will be beneficial for

international students.

“I think ISAC will give international students a chance to voice

their concerns and serve as a link between them and the rest of the

CSU community,” she said.

Raji Edayathumangalam, a member of ISAC and a fifth-year

international student from India seeking a doctorate in

biochemistry and molecular biology, said that while she has not

encountered many issues at CSU, it doesn’t mean that other

international students haven’t, so she is ready to be a voice for

them.

“Just because I did not face many issues does not mean that

other people are not facing issues. I often came across many people

facing several issues,” she said. “However, many of them may not be

able or willing to communicate it in public. I am willing to be the

spokesperson for such people since issues faced by one individual

concern more than just that one individual.”

 

 

 

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