President Ross meets with international students, addresses concerns

Sarah White | Staff Photographer President George Ross answers questions from members of the International Student Organization in the Park Library on Monday.

President George Ross vowed to international students on campus Monday to make changes in English-language support services for them if needs are going unmet.

Central Michigan University students met Ross in the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium as part of a discussion hosted by the International Student Organization.

One major concern voiced by students was the training in composition. Some international students who pass the English competency test might not be prepared to write academic essays.

"There's room to expand the existing English-language support services for international students," Ross said. "If needs are going unmet, if changes need to be made, I am wide open to making that happen."

Ross pointed to programs such as the Writing Center and the English Language Institute as useful tools for international students that struggle with writing. He said raising awareness about writing and these support services is a vital part of solving the problem

There are more than 850 international students at CMU, the largest number in the university's history. Ross said the administrators will look into improving English services to assist this growing group.

This is the second time ISO has put on the question-and-answer event with Ross. The goal of the registered student organization is to aid international students for success in both academics and social life on campus, said ISO President Shaminul Shakib.

"This is a good platform for bringing the problems facing international students to the attention of the university authorities," the Bangladesh junior said. "We had a lot of important questions raised today."

Another question dealt with the addition of multi-faith prayer rooms to buildings on campus. Ross said the administration is discussing the construction of these "personal comfort rooms."

Other topics on the minds of students included the long waits for Safe Ride vehicles, parking and the work-hour limitations on international students. When asked about difficulties facing both domestic and international students, Ross said global competition in the marketplace is the biggest obstacle to overcome.

"When you leave Central, competing against students from around the world and keeping up with the rapid changes in technology are going to be the hardest part," Ross said.

Ross said CMU will be looking into those issues further and will respond to the inquiring students once they have the necessary information.

Although not a member of the RSO hosting the event, freshman Yuri Sugiyama from Japan heard about the event from a friend and came to learn more about the university.

"It was my first time seeing the president, which was exciting," Sugiyama said. "I think he did a good job answering the questions the students had for him."

Shakib said ISO might hold similar discussions with Ross every semester in the future.


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