D’sribe’s Zhi Xian Lyu and Ilman Ariffin report:
Monash University faces massive backlash after banning international students from running in their current student election.
The controversial decision made by the Monash Caulfield Student Council (MCSA) has sparked outrage among international students who make up 62 per cent of the campus’ total population.
Jack Guo, a candidate of the student union election and President of the Monash Chinese student’s association, told The Age he felt the ban was prejudiced and discriminatory towards internationals students.
“We think this is a biased, racist decision against Chinese students and other international students,” he said.
Alex Wang, a student officer for the National Union of Students, supported Guo’s statement, informing The Age that the regulation holds negative implications, particularly towards the Chinese students.
“These regulation changes are plainly an attack on international students, in particular Chinese, who simply want a voice in their representative body,” said Wang.
The university’s student body council justified their decision, stating that students who wish to run in the election must be permitted to work at least 22 hours per week.
International students who are here on student visas are not allowed to work for more than 20 hours a week, making them ineligible to run for the student body election.
President of Monash University International Student Service, Ayush Tarway, told The Age the ban prohibits the majority of Monash Caulfield students from participating in the election.
“At least half of Monash Caulfield’s students are international. This strips half the student population from participating in their own elections,” said Tarway.
Kent Zhao, a Chinese student from Monash Caulfield, says that using the work limitations set on student visas is an unfair justification.
“These ‘rules’ set by the council are nonsensical. I don’t see a reason why they can’t reduce the number of hours to 20 hours,” said Zhao
Indonesian student at Monash Caulfield, Randy Suharto, says the rules set by the council imply biased undertones towards the current state of the student council.
“It’s just an excuse for the council to not allow international students to govern the student body because they believe we can’t run it as efficient as the locals,” he said.
“Go!”, an international student group, intervened upon hearing the news and disputed the issue through the university’s inner tribunal, stating that the decision was “racially discriminatory” and violates the Equal Opportunity act.
Though the tribunal recognised that the issue was indeed racially discriminatory, they maintained the ban as the act does not protect against discrimination on the grounds of visa type.
The Monash Caulfield Student Union (MONSU), the body that overlooks the entirety of the Monash Student Council, quickly took to Facebook to publish a statement regarding the election.
MONSU had decided to postpone the dates of the polling process from mid-September (16 to 18 September) to late October (23 to 25 October) in light of the controversy surrounding the election to further investigate and resolve the issue.
The international student ban has received attention from members of the Australian community, both local and foreign, expressing their concerns over the issue and showing support towards the Monash international students.