Harvard's Undergraduate Council's Petition for More International Student Support


Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Feb 09, 2021 03:58 PM IST

Harvard’s Undergraduate Council drafted a petition requesting the College to offer further assistance and support for the international student community. Many requests such as flexible academic expectations and deadlines are among the many requests mentioned in the petition.

Harvard's Undergraduate Council's Petition for More International Student Support

Online learning has brought about a lot of changes in the livelihood of students, especially, international students. Among such students are international students at Harvard College. The Harvards undergraduate Council drafted a petition on Tuesday asking the College to improve and strengthen the international student support for the spring semester.

Numerous suggestions and requests were included in the petition from the international student council, such as the extension of the deadline for petition submission deadline for students who need to decide whether they should return to Campus this Spring Semester.

Included was also a request for the provision of a 12-hour window for international students to submit their assignments and exams as well as offering a hybrid teaching model that includes an in-person element.

The Council has also requested the College to keep international freshmen as a priority along with seniors with regard to spring housing, provided a hybrid model is adopted. The Councill also added that if Online Classes continue, proper reasoning behind the decision should be communicated with the international students and their families.

As Undergraduate Courses were held online, International Students were not allowed to live on campus, during the Fall Semester, due to Federal Visa Restrictions. As per the current state of affairs, the restrictions will be continued for the spring semester as well.

Also Read: Harvard University to Offer Free Course on Accounting and Financial Statements

The Petition from the Council highlighted that mental health and the social lives of the international students were negative affected as they were mentally, physically and emotionally distant from their peers who had been residing on campus.

The Council members also highlighted that the input they received from the international students led to the drafting of the petition. Citizen sponsors of the petition stated that their experience as international students during the Fall Semester 2020 was unenjoyable and disappointing.

An international student from New Zealand, Samuel H. Taylor stated that the promise of a transformational experience was not met and the overall experience could have been better. He also added that the international student community had raised various concerns to the University during the Fall Semester such as flexible academic expectations and additional lecture periods. Stating that the international student community stand at a disadvantage, some of the accommodations requested are not unreasonable, Taylor further stated.

Also Read: US Still the Most-Preferred Study Abroad Destination for January 2021 Intake: Survey

Similarly, international students from across the globe raised their concerns and requests with the university. The International Student Community is confident that the petition will hold and that the requests will come to fruition. Currently, the petition saw over 230 signatures as of Saturday evening, 2nd Jan 2021.

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