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Notes from Council: International Students’ Association receive additional feedback after amending International Students’ Association Fee proposal

Many student councillors expressed concerns about the ISA’s four-year plan, instead voicing support for a three-year strategy.

“Notes from Council” is The Gateway’s ongoing series of recaps of noteworthy items from Students’ Council meetings.

Gurbani Baweja, vice-president (external) of the ISA, presented an amended proposal of their International Students’ Association Fee (ISAF) to the Students’ Council alongside Dhir Bid, vice-president (finance) of ISA. 

An initial proposal for the fee was presented to the Students’ Council at the previous council meeting. The ISAF was taken back to the ISA for amendments and was presented again at the Students’ Council meeting on August 10. According to Baweja, this will be the last time the ISA presents the fee to the Students’ Council before it is finalized. 

The ISA’s ideal proposal includes a $6.00 ISAF for Fall and Winter academic semesters. For the Spring and Summer academic semesters, the fee would be $3.00 each. Students at Augustana Campus and Campus Saint-Jean would pay 50 per cent of this fee, and off-campus students would not be required to pay this fee. 

The proposal was amended to have the ISAF run for four years instead of the original five-year plan. According to Baweja, this will grant every typical undergraduate student the ability to vote on this fee at least once.

Sammy Gardner, a business councillor, expressed concerns about the ISA’s four-year plan. Instead, she voiced her support for a three-year plan. This was reiterated by Ghalia Aamer, a business councillor, science councillor Simran Dhillon, and Dave Konrad, Board of Governors representative.

“I don’t think a [four-year ISAF length] is actually middle ground [between five years and three years], I think it’s the option that the fewest people [chose in the survey],” Aamer said. “I think it’s really important students get the chance to actually vote on [the ISAF] multiple times.”

Bid acknowledged this concern and mentioned bringing up the ISAF length to the remaining ISA team again for reevaluation.

Aamer inquired about the ISA’s ongoing consultation and communication with the U of A’s international student body.

“There have been changes made [to the proposal] now… how are you getting feedback directly from international students on those changes?” Aamer asked. “What is your ongoing consultation process like?”

In response, Baweja mentioned meeting with the Committee of International Students’ Affairs as a method of maintaining transparent consultation.

Areeha Mahal

Areeha Mahal is the 2021-22 News Editor and previously served as a Deputy Arts & Culture Editor and Deputy News Editor. Additionally, she is a second-year Biology and English student. When she’s not learning the Krebs cycle for the millionth time, Areeha enjoys stargazing, baking pies, and listening to Bob Dylan.

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