Ahead in a New World, Page 5
Will new policies limit international students?
by Gail Taylor
24 was United Nations Day. With the stars and stripes taped in shop
windows and flying from lamp posts all over town, the annual U.N.
Day display outside the Oberlin Inn was especially striking: flying
were 114 flags representing countries that have sent students to
domestic security tightened, it seemed that the vibrant international
life of college and university campuses could be one of wars
casualties. Spurred by reports that one or more of the hijackers
entered the country on student visas, Californias Senator
Dianne Feinstein proposed a six-month moratorium on student visas.
She later backed off, proposing instead to bar them for students
from seven specific countries.
tracking system for international students appeared inevitable.
Congress moved to bring online a long-proposed and much-delayed
electronic system that would provide an identification card for
foreign students and require international student advisors to keep
the Immigration and Naturalization Service informed of students
status. The long-protesting Association of International Educators
abandoned its objection to the system. At Oberlin, Nicolette Love,
international student advisor and assistant dean, worried that new
reporting responsibilities would undermine her role as advocate
and friend to young people facing the uncertainties of life in a
foreign country. But she says, If I am required to do that,
of course, Ill do that.
she spoke, her husband, Associate Director of Admissions Harry Dawe
58, was traveling in Bulgaria and Turkey, helping to recruit
the Class of 2006. Oberlin policy allows accepted students to defer
entry for up to two semesters, and, had visas been frozen, that
policy could have been invoked.
his quest to bring the worlds best and brightest to Oberlin,
Dawes decision to travel in October put him ahead of the pack.
At a College fair in Istanbul he came across some booths left empty
by recruiters who had decided not to fly. He also found Turkish
students still eager to study in the States.
260 international students from more than 50 countries study at
Oberlin, according to Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Debra
Chermonte. As of October, she expected the Colleges international
population to hold steady next year. For international students
already here, September 11 and its aftermath seemed to bring the
College together as a global community.
a rich international mix on campus is just what America needs, says
David Ward, president of the American Council on Education, pointing
out that the secretary-general of the U.N., the president of Mexico,
and the king of Jordan all attended American colleges.
Claire Sturm, a German citizen raised in France and New Zealand,
is treasurer of Oberlins International Student Organization.
She may attend graduate school in the United States and become involved
in international policy. She says that bureaucratic hurdles will
not deter her. Despite whatever security measures they take,
if I want to go to graduate school, I will go through the whole
process, she says. If it takes three months of background
checksif it takes six monthsI will still do it. I will
not be discouraged. l
Taylor, a freelance writer who lives in Oberlin, is a former lobbyist
for Case Western Reserve University.
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