Haewon Hwang / Sun Staff Photographer

Student Assembly (pictured at a September meeting) voted down a resolution on Thursday that was aimed at increasing faculty "ideological diversity" at Cornell

September 22, 2016

In Reversal, Economics Department Reinstates CPT Program

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With the international student community still reeling from the transition of “need blind” to “need aware” international admissions, the reversal of the economics department’s controversial move to abolish Curricular Practical Training work authorization visas, announced Thursday, represents a triumph for international students.

CPT visas prove essential for many international students who choose to stay in the United States over the summer for jobs or internships related to their major. Many students have said the department’s plan to stop granting the visas could seriously derail their pre-professional plans.

At Thursday’s Student Assembly meeting, Department Chair Prof. Larry Blume, economics, announced that the department will reinstate its use of CPT and establish a committee meant to evaluate and reform the policy.

An S.A. resolution opposing the department’s action was then successfully withdrawn with a vote of 15-0-0.

“For any international students receiving internship offers before a new policy is in place, the economics department will continue to process their CPT paperwork,” Blume said at the S.A. meeting. “However, students must understand that the requirements for coursework associated with that CPT will be determined at a later date, at which time students will be responsible for completing those requirements.”

Akhilesh Issur ’17, S.A. international student liaison at large and sponsor of the resolution on the CPT issue, said he was satisfied with the economic department’s response.

“I think the economics department listened to our concerns,” he said at the meeting. “They are willing to work together with students.”

CPT visas, granted by each individual student’s major, are critical in allowing international students to hold summer internships and jobs after college, according to the resolution. The economic department’s decision to discontinue its use of CPT last spring was met with significant backlash, The Sun previously reported.

According to the resolution, the department originally opposed CPT on the grounds that the program held “little educational value” and was “unfair” to “U.S. citizens who do not have the option to complete a one-credit.”

Mitchell McBride ’17, motivated by the backlash of “need-aware” decision, also said he worked with Issur on reinstating CPTs.

“I think that international students keep getting pushed to the margins, and their voices need to be heard,” McBride said. “Hopefully Akhi can serve on [the CPT] committee and work to reform CPT to make it stronger.”

At the meeting, Blume thanked the S.A. for “speeding up the [reinstatement] process.”

“One thing that the Student Assembly has done is lit a fire in the administrative quarters,” he said.

McBride added that he was satisfied with the results, referring to the resolution as a rare example of “shared governance” working “perfectly,” saying “It just highlights the profound respect the faculty and students have for each other.”