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University Reneges on Commitment to Int'l Students

August 12 2004

University Reneges on Commitments to International Students

The University of Otago has proven that it sees International Students as little more than revenue in its response to international students’ concerns over fees for 2005. The Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) has filed an appeal with the International Education Appeal Authority (IEAA) over the fees decision, only to be stymied by the University’s inaction.

The University of Otago is a signatory to the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students, which is designed to provide minimum protections for foreign students studying in New Zealand. Under this Code, the University is obligated to have grievance procedures in place, and have them made available to students when concerns such as unfair fee increases arise. OUSA has since learned that the University has no such procedures in place to process international students’ concerns, despite being required to as a signatory to the Code, and are now instigating these procedures in an ad-hoc fashion two months after OUSA raised these students’ grievances.

“This is exceptionally frustrating.” said Andrew Cushen, President of OUSA. “We have been advised by the IEAA that they cannot proceed with our students’ appeal until internal grievance procedures have been exhausted. Until now, no such procedures have been in place for our members to have their concerns heard.”

“We have been stuck between a rock and a hard place due to the University seeing this Code as little more than window dressing. The University has reneged on its commitments to international students at Otago, and prevented our members from seeing justice on this issue.”

“While we are pleased that we have finally found a way forward on this issue, we have our concerns that the process seems completely ad-hoc.” said Cushen. “At the very least, once we have talked to the University we can then move on to the IEAA itself – and perhaps they will be able to deliver the justice our students’ deserve.”

ENDS

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