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USG focuses on fee waiver resolution

After months of discussion and confusion surrounding the international fee waiver situation at the University, the Undergraduate Student Government decided to take action and voted on a resolution during an emergency meeting this past Monday night.

The passed resolution will offer a compromise between international students affected by the situation and the University, USG President John Waynick said.

“We wanted to reach a decision that would be fair,” Waynick said.

The issue surrounding the fee waiver stems from over the summer when several international students were told their fee waivers would no longer be upheld for the upcoming academic year.

“This whole situation has created a sense of panic and confusion,” said Tyler Deitsch, USG senator and one of the authors of the resolution.

USG decided this was a matter they should investigate after they were presented with a petition from faculty and students.

“We [USG] deemed this was a worthy issue to look into,” Waynick said.

USG investigated by listening to international student testimonials, holding open forum meetings with the Center for International Programs and researching how other area universities handle their international student funds.

The process took place for three weeks, after which a resolution regarding the matter was written, Waynick said.

“There were points during our meeting where it got a little heated, but we passed the resolution with a vote of 21 senators supporting the resolution and three abstaining,” Waynick said.

USG wanted to vote on the resolution the Monday night before Thanksgiving break because of a Faculty Senate Executive Committee meeting the next day, said USG Senator Tim Delnay, who is also an author of the resolution.

“We wanted the faculty senate executive committee to have time to look at this resolution since it is an important situation,” Delnay said. “Ultimately, in this resolution, we wanted to reach a compromise that would be fair to each side.”

By each side, Delnay is referring to the international students affected and the Center for International Programs. As of now, the number of students on fee waivers has been reduced from 227 students in 2006 to 42 for the Spring 2009 semester.

Since the CIP faces a 2.5 million dollar deficit, it is not in a position to continue awarding full fee waivers for international students, Delnay said.

Even though this issue has touched everyone differently, Diestch said he believes it is important to not place the blame on any one party.

“I personally feel that the guilt can be placed on both sides, which is why I felt it was important to reach a compromise,” Deitsch said.

Despite the outcome of the situation with Faculty Senate’s decision, Delnay said USG will assist international students on campus in any way they can help.

“USG wants to keep an eye on the situation and hopefully come up with a solution of some kind no matter what,” Delnay said.

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