Tuition Increase Brings Students To The Board of Trustees
The fee increase for International students and how it affects them was discussed at Monday's Board of Trustees meeting. Chung Ho Lee an International student who was recently killed in Koreatown at 2.a.m. because he could no longer afford the prices that SMC and other colleges around the country expect the students to pay. His story ran in the third issue of the Corsair, March 9.
Jeronimo Saldana A.S. president introduced to the board the incident involving Lee. "Last night's Board of Trustees meeting was a chance for the students to honor the memory of Chung Ho Lee and bring attention to the results of rising international student fees," said Saldana "I am honored to have been able to speak on behalf of Chung Ho Lee and stress that his death was not in void. I am proud of his achievements and plan on setting up a scholarship fund for international students in his name."
Sadia Afolabi who is currently running for Vice President of the Associated Students came to the meeting as well to give the board issues of the Corsair that had the story about the violent death of Lee. She spoke about the price one international student paid with his life as a result of the increased tuition.
"There is a strong correlation here between the fee increase and death," said Sadia Afolabi. "Chung Ho Lee died because he could not afford the tuition."
I want everybody to think about how hard it will be for a parent to send his child to school and hear that there child was killed." said Afolabi
Lee's professor Kathy Sucher came to the meeting with a group of international students, two of whom live in Koreatown and heard nothing about Lee's death except from what they read in the Korean newspaper and the Corsair. Ms. Sucher spoke about Mr. Ho Lee being a shy 26 year old who just wanted an education.
Lee had to leave SMC for the winter semester to get a job. Being an international student on a student visa, students aren't allowed to work outside school. However, Lee got a job working under the table to get enough money to go back to school again for the spring semester.
Ms. Sucher had only two minutes to address the board and after her two minutes were up she continued to speak and was interrupted by a member of the board that at this time should remain anonymous.
Kathy had this to say about the meeting and the interruption. "The purpose of my remarks was to educate board members about some of the financial realities that our international students face, and to challenge SMC to find some way - be it through a scholarship fund, eligibility for on-campus work, or a 'street smarts' class for F-1 visa students - some way toease the financial burden on all students, but in this case, F-1 students who contribute so much to the unique diversity of SMC."
Kristina Voronko, an international student from Latvia said, "If I have to pay more, I will not be able to go here."
Student Trustee Dina Cervante thanked the student speakers for investing there time to come to the meeting to discuss the issue.
"I find it really distasteful that this tragic death of this student is being sensationalized to make a political point," said Randal Lawson, executive vice president of SMC. He also said that this incident could happen to everyone and that Lee unfortunately was at the wrong place at the wrong time.