“Notes from the ISA” is The Gateway’s ongoing series of recaps of noteworthy items from the International Students’ Association council meetings.
At the University of Alberta International Students’ Association (ISA) council meeting on October 19, council supported a motion to add a voting seat on l’Association des universitaires de la faculté Saint-Jean (AUFSJ). As well, council appointed a new co-vice president (communications).
During executive reports, Co-president Amirali Bigleri said he and U of A Students’ Union (UASU) President Christian Fotang have discussed a possible presentation on a tuition fee increase in the international students tuition model. As well, Bigleri has been having similar discussions with the university.
“So far, the university is … looking for a date to consult with the international student body. We’re monitoring the situation closely. We’ll probably have to do some advocacy efforts,” Bigleri said.
“The ISA’s political policies strictly instruct the ISA … to maintain total neutrality on any worldly or political matters,” speaker says
Council unanimously supported the motion to add a voting seat on AUFSJ. Because implementation requires a bylaw amendment, ISA members will vote on the motion at the ISA’s next Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Council also approved a motion to release a statement from the ISA “on the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict in the Middle East,” Speaker Tahmid Al Hafiz said. He reminded council that the ISA is neutral, and councillors cannot voice personal opinions during discussion.
“The ISA’s political policies strictly instruct the ISA to maintain total neutrality on any worldly or political matters.”
The motion passed with six in favour, one opposed, and three abstentions. The ISA posted the statement to its Instagram on October 26. The statement encourages every university member to “demonstrate compassion and understanding” to those affected. As well, it says the ISA “is committed to addressing any issues that require advocacy on behalf of [its] students.”
“The ISA at the U of A remains committed to the principles of neutrality, empathy, and compassion,” the statement said. “We recognize that this conflict has far-reaching implications and evokes strong emotions from all sides. In this challenging time, we stand in solidarity with all members of our diverse community, regardless of their background and beliefs.”
Council also approved the appointment of Mishthi Batra to the role of co-vice president (communications). Batra is a first-year student who moved to Canada from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). She has experience in communications and outreach.
“People should know about [an organization like this]. I would love to be a part of this for precisely this reason,” Batra said.