SA Meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2017 by Brittney Chew

Brittney Chew / Sun Staff Photographer

March 23, 2017

SA Reconsiders Resolution to Promote Work Authorizations for International Students

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The most influential piece of legislation discussed by the Student Assembly at its meeting Thursday was the one resolution not on the day’s agenda.

Akhilesh Issur ’17, the international student liaison at large, brought to the assembly’s attention Resolution 8, a piece of legislation proposing the restoration of the Curricular Practical Training work authorization by the economics department. The program would provide international students with work study courses designed to give them domestic work authorization for paid summer internships.

The resolution was initially introduced Sept. 15, when the economics department announced its intention to end the program after 2016, but the assembly tabled the resolution after the department told the assembly that it would reinstate the program.

However, the economics department has not done so.

“International students are looking to get this CPT authorization because the summer is fast approaching,” Issur said. “But the economics department has refused to do so.”

Not only has the department refused to reinstate the CPT, but according to Issur, its reason for not doing so also is a “regressive and xenophobic stance” taken by the department.

“The Economics Director of Undergraduate Studies engaged in conversations with students about how the U.S. government does not want international students to take away jobs from Americans and referred to the fact that if the department administered CPT approval, this would be unfair to domestic students,” Issur said

In response, members of the assembly were outraged by the lack of action taken by the economics department.

“This is completely unfair to international students,” said assembly member Diana Li ’17. Initially a supporter of immediately passing the resolution, Li insisted doing so would be “one way the assembly can tangibly show its view on [the issue].”

Assembly member Julia Montejo ’17 was also in full support of the resolution.

“It’s disgusting that someone walked into this room of students, of shared governance, and made a promise they didn’t keep,” Montejo said.

Although it had enough numbers to pass the resolution, the assembly decided once again to table the issue in order to have leverage against the economics department.
“I think it’s important that we wait to pass the resolution until next week so that the economics department knows that the S.A. is concerned about our international students and displeased with their recent actions, but that we are willing to hear the department’s point of view,” said Gabe Kaufman ’18, undergraduate representative to the University Assembly.

The meeting also addressed three other resolutions and an update from the Diversity and Calendar Committees.

Resolution 35, sponsored by Li and parliamentarian Dale Barbaria ’19, proposed the allocation of $54,000 in surplus funds from the Collegiate Readership Program to the Special Project Fund. This resolution, along with Resolution 32 concerned with improving access to concentrations and minors in the College of Business, was passed.

Resolution 33, regarding conflict mineral-free purchasing decisions, was tabled for the next meeting.

  • anonymous

    International students (e.g. American) who attend European universities aren’t allowed to be given work-study jobs, nor “domestic work authorization for paid summer internships” in those countries either because that would be unfair for their own country’s students. These policies aren’t xenophobic; several countries have the same policy.

    Countries and universities have a right to take care of their own citizens first and not leave them poor or without jobs, and, unlike international students, grew up there and spent years paying taxes which helped pay for the lower cost of university tuition. It doesn’t make sense for international students to be given the right to have work-study jobs in the U.S., over U.S. workers who wouldn’t be allowed to do the same thing and work in other countries.

    I have a legal immigrant mother and several of my relatives were born in other countries. So, I was taught that each country has their own laws that naturally prioritize their own citizens, and that there are legal processes which should be respected by foreigners or students who wish to become citizens who want live and work there.

    • Someone who actually researched the issue

      Well, CPT work authorization is legal and allowed by the State Department and Homeland Security. The Economics Department of Cornell should continue to offer it as long as it is legal and the other departments at Cornell and other universities continue to do so as it currently the case. The Economics Department also came forward and said they would continue to administer it which gave students false hopes and got them confused. The Department should not have lied.

      Also, I don’t know what countries in Europe you’re referring to but I studied abroad both in France and in the UK, and I had work-study opportunities as an American there. It was so easy to get it, and much easier than what my international friends go through in the U.S. Finally, pairing a summer internship to your study is essential these days; CPT work authorization is Curricular Practical Training – the work cannot be for more than a few months (aka an internship), and has to be related to your major, and you have to develop an academic project from it. Not all international students do it, but many do because not having practical training is a huge disadvantage for many of them. I could never even think of not having internship opportunities presented for myself. Cornell considers this to be part of its academic experience.

      Finally, the fact that your facts are not true about several countries in Europe, and that you didn’t bother understand what is CPT but was quick to enroll in a discussion of “work-study” do unravel your xenophobia. So sad. I hope God Bless your soul with more understanding, and I pray you have a little more compassion.