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.