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International students share concerns with President Ross

International students at Central Michigan University spoke with university President George Ross at the Meet the President event Wednesday afternoon to address issues impacting the community.  

Around 25 students gathered in the Park Library Auditorium at 4:30 p.m. for the International Student Organization's annual event. Meet the President is an interactive meet-and-greet where Ross speaks with international students and answers to their questions, concerns and experiences at CMU.

The annual event helps establish a connection between Ross and the international student community, said Mariam Saad, president of the International Student Organization and the mediator of the discussion.

“It’s for international students to know that the president of the university is also the president for them,” Saad said. “It’s important that they know their concerns and issues are the concerns and issues of the President.”  

Before opening the floor for questions, Ross expressed appreciation for the international student community and encouraged them in their academia. 

“I look forward to this event every year (because) it’s an opportunity to speak with students from literally around the globe,” Ross said. “I support what education can do for each and every one of you. So take advantage of everything we have to offer here at CMU.”  

Students proceeded to asked questions about issues they've been experiencing.Topics such as the problems with the Mathematics department and issues with transferring tuition funds from home were raised. 

One student addressed the lack of halal meat in the campus dining options. 

"It sounds like there is an opportunity here," Ross responded. "Menus are set for the masses that we feed. There are 10,000 students a day on campus. I will follow up on how menus are set, particularly styles and type of food." 

During times the president could not answer a question, Tracy Nakajima, adviser for ISO and director of the Office of International Affairs, stepped in. She directed students to several offices on campus that could deal with their issues, while offering her own perspective.

Saudi Arabia senior Hassan Almusallam, was among the students raising concerns. As he is approaching graduation, Almusallam said he worries CMU is not providing adequate post-graduation employment opportunities for the international community.

“There are a lot of problems that the (deans) and (chairpersons) cannot solve,” he said.“The president is the only person at the university who can solve them.”

Ross was unable to respond to several of the student's concerns throughout the event, but said he would look into the issues and follow up with them directly. 

Almusallam said was “kind of” satisfied with Ross' responses.

“I’m not sure if he will (follow up), but I think he is going to do something about it, and hope so,” he said. “I think he can change a lot of stuff.”