The safety of international students
Re "Tuition Increase Bring Students To the Board of Trustees," April 6: I am really disappointed in what Randal Lawson, executive vice president of SMC, said about international student, Chung Ho Lee's death.
I have studied at SMC as international student from Japan since 2003. I didn't know Chung Ho Lee, but I feel sorrow.
I am afraid many resident students at SMC just think like Lawson, "violence could happen to anyone," and then forget about the case.
I know he shouldn't have worked illegally, but I cannot blame him because I can understand his situation keenly. He came to the country with a big dream like other international students; he had been spending a lot of money as an investment in his future like us; he had financial problems like us. So, I felt as if it were my own affair.
It seems to me that SMC doesn't take international students seriously. I have been dissatisfied with the support system from SMC. I know the reason I have to pay $200 /unit is that I don't pay tax in the country; I agree about that. However, instead of international students having to pay a lot of money without student loan or scholarship, SMC should offer more support and information for international students such as lending textbooks or emergency book loans like my friend who is a resident of California has received from financial aid office. Also holding financial workshops to give a lesson of how to manage money. The support will truly help international students not only financially but also emotionally. If SMC had already had those supports, there was a possibility Chung Ho didn't need to die. Even though international students are just foreigners in the country, at SMC, we are also an important part of the campus like resident students, and I would hope that we wouldn't be treated lightly.
Talking of Chung Ho Lee's death, international students tend to be uninformed of how to protect themselves in the country that people can have guns legally. It is sad fact that many international students live in dangerous areas because those areas tend to have cheaper rent. For that reason many international students don't have enough knowledge about where the dangerous areas in Los Angeles are, they choose their rooms only by the price of rent; soon after they start living, they notice the area is so dangerous. I lived in south LA for a while, and the area was the worst. At the time, I had no idea why the rent was so cheap until I lived there. I often heard gunshots and police sirens. I didn't open even a curtain because I was worried somebody would realize a girl was in the room. Now, I have moved to another part of the town, and finally I can live here safely. I think there are many international students like me.
I am sure if SMC doesn't understand the situation of international students, and just increase the tuition without any care of us, there is high possibility many international students will work and live in dangerous areas, and the tragic case of Chung Ho Lee would be repeated.