SBCC board members discuss international student perception

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MEGAN ROBERTS-KING, Associate Editor

The Academic Senate and Board of Trustees met for their annual joint meeting to discuss patterns in enrollment numbers at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 10.

The government bodies examined the effects that decreasing numbers of non-local students enrolling at City College have on the campus community.

“Just looking at media coverage of [international students], it sounds like it’s a very bad thing, and that’s been a big concern of mine because I teach ESL,” said President-elect Priscilla Butler. “I see the difference in classes where students are pretty much homogeneous, versus when we have a variety of students from all over the world, with all different life experiences and all different ages.”

The board has a policy in place outlining that the amount of international students must not exceed 8 percent of City College’s total headcount. When the in-state enrollment shrinks, college administration must decrease international enrollment.

For several years members of the community have voiced their complaints about international or out-of-district students impacting the city.

“It’s about housing,” said Luz Reyes-Martin, interim public information officer. “Just this weekend, I attended an open house at Beach City. It came up again, blaming international students. It’s still very much pervasive in the community.”

Many members of the senate were vocal about the benefits of international students and discussed the importance of shifting the community’s negative portrayals of them.

“I don’t know that the community really understands that without the out-of-district students, the out-of-state students and the international students, we wouldn’t have the diversity of programs we have,” said Kathy O’Connor, chair of the athletics department.

“The discussion today has not essentially been on numbers, it’s been on the value of the international students,” said Trustee Dr. Peter Haslund. “That’s the piece that’s missing in the public dialogue. So let’s all correct that.”