The Brandon University Students’ Union (BUSU) issued a press release on Wednesday afternoon, distancing the organization from an article written by BUSU Vice President Internal Raymond Thomson. The article appeared in the Brandon Sun on December 1, and The Quill on December 4.
The article suggested that Brandon University administration should develop a plan for the recruitment of international students. However, many international students have expressed outrage at Thomson’s choice of wording. They claim that instead of advocating for all students on campus, Thomson is encouraging the university to promote the international student market as a way to financially assist the University.
In an excerpt from his article, Thomson writes, “The lack of federal support for post-secondary education has led to chronically underfunded Canadian universities,” he adds, “International students pay much higher tuition and fees than domestic students. The international student market represents an important economic opportunity for Canadian Universities to exploit.”
You can read the full article here.
A number of students were so displeased with the article, that they put forth a motion at Tuesday night’s BUSU Annual General Meeting. The motion, presented by student Baraa Salama, included a recommendation that Thomson resign from his position as Vice President Internal.
During the heated discussion that ensued, Thomson admitted his choice of words was regrettable. At the same time, he maintained that he is supportive of all students on campus, adding that he is proud of the fact that BU has such low international differential fees.
After a great deal of debate, the motion died when it was found that the quorum required for the meeting had been lost.
In their release, BUSU states “while the article was published under Raymond Thomson’s title as a BUSU Executive, his article reflected Thomson’s personal beliefs and not those of the Brandon University Students’ Union.”
It goes on to state that the Students’ Union “supports fully accessible, public post-secondary education for both domestic and international students. International students contribute to Brandon University not only economically, but also culturally.”
“It is important that we continue this work to ensure that both international students and domestic students can access post-secondary education free from any barriers.”
The organization also offered an apology to students. “Although Thomson’s article regarding international students was not written with malicious intent, we recognize that it did upset and offend students and community members. The Brandon University Students’ Union would like to extend an apology to all whom this article offended.”
Read the full press release here.
More to come on this story in the December 11th print edition of The Quill.