Seniors Kira Levin and Bidushi Adhikari, Class of 2019 Senator Hannah Brown and President of the Student Union David Herbstritt ’17, are working on instituting an international student senator position within the Student Union. The international student senator would accompany the current positions including class year senators, residence hall senators, the off-campus senator and the racial minority senator. The Brandeis Hoot applauds this effort on the part of the student government to better represent the student body.
While international students have a wide range of individual differences that would make a single senator inadequate to represent all of their concerns, there are issues common among all international students, just as there are issues common among all off-campus students, that cannot properly be addressed by those whom are not affected. International students are a huge proportion of our university’s populace (20 percent of undergraduates identify as international), and they ought to be properly represented in the student government.
As it stands, the majority of the senate consists of students representing class years and residence halls. But a precedent has recently been set with the racial minority senator for the Senate to add positions for underserved populations on the Brandeis campus. Domestic students typically have no exposure to the specific cultural and logistic problems of international students, and therefore do not have the necessary background to propose any legislation that might lessen the burden on international students, the way that senators from a particular residence hall are able to advocate for policies that would positively affect their residence halls.
In the current political climate, being an international student is especially fraught and all the more reason these students should have additional support and resources. Most notoriously, President Trump signed an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, which has already affected some Brandeis students.
The Hoot commends the Student Union for their devotion to ensuring that all students on campus are represented and welcomed into the community and thanks them for their action to that end. We also urge students to vote to approve the amendment necessary to institute the position of international student senator, once the email hits their inbox. When the President’s platform is that no one born outside this country is welcome here, we must counteract this with measures to show that these students belong not only in our country but also in our community.