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News :: Education : International : Race
UMass students fight international student 'fee'
18 Dec 2003
In a heartening display of anti-racist unity and solidarity Dec. 11, 125 students and their allies denounced the administration’s plans to impose a new fee on international graduate students in the 2004 spring semester. The $65 per semester fee the administration plans on implementing is only applicable for international students, and is an added expense to the fees these students are required to pay. Its purpose is to fund a new program called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS. This fee would be addition to an already federally mandated $100 charge taxed to international students to pay for SEVIS. SEVIS is a database that links colleges and universities to the Department of Homeland Security to monitor their activities as part of the USA Patriot Act.
UMass students fight international student 'fee'
by Bryan G. Pfeifer

UMass-Amherst -- In a heartening display of anti-racist unity and solidarity Dec. 11, students and their allies denounced the administration’s plans to impose a new fee on international graduate students in the 2004 spring semester.

A noon press conference during finals week organized by the Graduate Employees Organization, the union that represents over 2,500 graduate students on campus, drew a standing room only crowd of over 125 with only a few days notice.

There are approximately 6,000 graduate students attending UMass-Amherst of which approximately 50 percent are international students the majority of which originate from non-European centers such as Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Those attending were in no mood to negotiate with the administration.

“I’m not going to pay the fee. I’m willing to take this as far as I can,” said Zixul “George” Liu, a Chinese student majoring in communications and a GEO organizer.

The $65 per semester fee the administration plans on implementing is only applicable for international students, and is an added expense to the fees these students are required to pay. Its purpose is to fund a new program called the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System or SEVIS. This fee would be addition to an already federally mandated $100 charge taxed to international students to pay for SEVIS.

SEVIS is a database that links colleges and universities to the Department of Homeland Security. It monitors the activities of all international students, including location, classes taken, hours worked, status of bills, and any other information the office deems necessary to obtain. The database is updated in real-time by the university.

If international students do not comply with SEVIS -- for instance, not updating where they are living or falling out of good standing with the university -- they could be considered felons by the State Department and be arrested or deported.

SEVIS was in the planning stages for several years by the federal government to track international students' and staff's status at their prospective schools. After Sept. 11 SEVIS was mandated under the USA Patriot Act passed by Congress six weeks after Sept. 11. The means to fund this is not mandated.

International students, under various racist measures in the Patriot Act, state and federal laws, are already restricted to 20 hours of work a week, only ‘allowed’ one job, and other onerous measures. With cost-of-living expenses such as childcare and housing rising every semester, international students are facing severe hurdles to simply stay afloat much less obtain an education.

"Not only are international students, of which I am one, being forced to pay for their own surveillance, but are being discriminated against in the campus community," said Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki, secretary treasurer of the GEO/UAW, doctoral student in psychology and an international student from Jordan at the press conference.

In keeping with the spirit of those attending the press conference, GEO issued its “International Student Fee Statement” to the UMass Community which was signed by all members of the union’s executive board.

“In keeping with the vision statement of the University, we insist that the Chancellor immediately revoke the International Student Fee scheduled for next semester.”

Liu and others also reminded the administration and those in attendance that the town of Amherst has passed a resolution opposing the Patriot Act and has requested that all city departments, businesses, and organizations not to comply with any of the act’s provisions.

Dahlstrom-Hakki and others outlined the increasingly brutal attacks on students of color including international students in the recent period. These include the effective dismantling of the campuses’ affirmative action program, the elimination of funding for English as a Second Language training, the raising of TOEFL requirements (written English proficiency scores for incoming students, and the elimination of advising offices and programs which are often a life-sustaining component of a student of color's life.

After the press conference a committee of graduate students and their allies convened to organize a campaign composed of various strategies and tactics to have the fee repealed.

Similar struggles have been waged at the University of Chicago, University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of New York-Binghampton.

While fighting back against this most recent attack most students have no illusions about the United States national security strategy and its historical evolution from the beginning of the 20th century to the McCarthy period up to the present.

Puerto Rican graduate student Rene Gonzalez, a leader in the African, Latino/a, Asian American, Native American and Arab American (ALAANA) organization, summed up the most recent U.S. strategy: “It’s part of a domestic component to an imperial foreign policy.”

A petition to “Repeal the UMass Surveillance Fee,” can be signed at: www.geouaw.org.

See also: www.visareform.net.

Pfeifer is a member of GEO, a Labor Studies graduate student at UMass-Amherst and an organizer with Western Mass ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

(c) 2003 Bryan G. Pfeifer. Article may be printed in whole or in part with full credit given to author.

-- 30 --
See also:
http://www.geouaw.org
http://www.visareform.net

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
It's amazing that radical Marxism remains alive only on university campuses. Mr. Gonzalez has a lot of growing up to do when he reaches the "real world", as we can tell from his recent outbursts. He is clearly deluded about the nature of the fees and I find him and his fellow students quite hysterical and paranoid about the whole issue.
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
Way to use a 'credible' source like Rene Gonzalez in your article. Piece of Shit. I bet he's hiding in a hole smaller than the one we found Saddam in. Come out and play Rene.
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
Rene Gonzalez is a pendejo
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
RE:
Puerto Rican graduate student Rene Gonzalez, a leader in the African, Latino/a, Asian American, Native American and Arab American (ALAANA) organization, summed up the most recent U.S. strategy: “It’s part of a domestic component to an imperial foreign policy.”

Send this Anti-American piece of crap back to PR.
He is a clueless veteran hating dillweed, who does not have the manners of a pig.
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
If you don't like it go home and get your education!
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
FIRE GONZALEZ!!!!!!!!!!He is a coward!!!! International students should pay thousands of dollars in fees before they enter OUR universities!
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
I'm driving up there this weekend to kick your ass...you stupid spick. You and the rest of your sand-niggers friends can get the fuck out of our country.
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
ZOOMass Amherst is an Alqueda/Marxist training camp!!!!!
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
Come to Boston Renee!!! This neghborhood is full of PATRIOTS like Pat Tillman!!!! Your parents must be so ashamed!!!!! What a waste of time and money...oh wait...We pay your tuition bill!!!!
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
Rise up America...We need to have a cultural revolution and take back our universities. These institutions breed nothing but morons who cannot compete in our society. We know who the enemy is...The cultural elite!!! The universities and the media. We are coming to liberate the students held captive in these cess pools!!!
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
29 Apr 2004
Rene a-hole is a prime example why this nation needs to rethink its immigrationfees for this vile aniamls and the ones just like him. Why is this pissant still enrolled at the University. He needs to be shipped out with the garbage!
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
30 Apr 2004
its unbelievable that a piece of shit like him can use our money to get an education and then bitch like a girl about a measly $65 increase. your a sissy and a coward. why else do you have a girls name. lol deport this spic.
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
30 Apr 2004
Insanity. Demonstrating over a $65 fee is absurd. Don't these students have studies to tend to. Maybe if they took some Economics courses...
And, Int'l students are not going to change their plans over it. It's fair, equitable and probably necessary. You folks really need some self-examination to find out what your real problem is. And this gibberish “part of a domestic component to an imperial foreign policy.” Gonzo-les has no idea what he is talking about. He should thank God PR became US territory.
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
30 Apr 2004
I would like to add this to your comments.. (This guy needs to watch what he writes.) or take his ass back to Puerto Rico

Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him

By Rene Gonzalez
April 28, 2004

When the death of Pat Tillman occurred, I turned to my friend who was watching the news with me and said, "How much you want to bet they start talking about him as a 'hero' in about two hours?" Of course, my friend did not want to make that bet. He'd lose. In this self-critical incapable nation, nothing but a knee-jerk "He's a hero" response is to be expected.
I've been mystified at the absolute nonsense of being in "awe" of Tillman's "sacrifice" that has been the American response. Mystified, but not surprised. True, it's not everyday that you forgo a $3.6 million contract for joining the military. And, not just the regular army, but the elite Army Rangers. You know he was a real Rambo, who wanted to be in the "real" thick of things. I could tell he was that type of macho guy, from his scowling, beefy face on the CNN pictures. Well, he got his wish. Even Rambo got shot in the third movie, but in real life, you die as a result of being shot. They should call Pat Tillman's army life "Rambo 4: Rambo Attempts to Strike Back at His Former Rambo 3 Taliban Friends, and Gets Killed."
But, does that make him a hero? I guess it's a matter of perspective. For people in the United States, who seem to be unable to admit the stupidity of both the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars, such a trade-off in life standards (if not expectancy) is nothing short of heroic. Obviously, the man must be made of "stronger stuff" to have had decided to "serve" his country rather than take from it. It's the old JFK exhortation to citizen service to the nation, and it seems to strike an emotional chord. So, it's understandable why Americans automatically knee-jerk into hero worship.
However, in my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot. Tillman, in the absurd belief that he was defending or serving his all-powerful country from a seventh-rate, Third World nation devastated by the previous conflicts it had endured, decided to give up a comfortable life to place himself in a combat situation that cost him his life. This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity, or to have a chance at education. This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him. That was not heroism, it was prophetic idiocy.
Tillman, probably acting out his nationalist-patriotic fantasies forged in years of exposure to Clint Eastwood and Rambo movies, decided to insert himself into a conflict he didn't need to insert himself into. It wasn't like he was defending the East coast from an invasion of a foreign power. THAT would have been heroic and laudable. What he did was make himself useful to a foreign invading army, and he paid for it. It's hard to say I have any sympathy for his death because I don't feel like his "service" was necessary. He wasn't defending me, nor was he defending the Afghani people. He was acting out his macho, patriotic crap and I guess someone with a bigger gun did him in.
Perhaps it's the old, dreamy American thought process that forces them to put sports greats and "larger than life" sacrificial lambs on the pedestal of heroism, no matter what they've done. After all, the American nation has no other role to play but to be the cheerleaders of the home team; a sad role to have to play during conflicts that suffer from severe legitimacy and credibility problems.
Matters are a little clearer for those living outside the American borders. Tillman got himself killed in a country other than his own without having been forced to go over to that country to kill its people. After all, whether we like them or not, the Taliban is more Afghani than we are. Their resistance is more legitimate than our invasion, regardless of the fact that our social values are probably more enlightened than theirs. For that, he shouldn't be hailed as a hero, he should be used as a poster boy for the dangerous consequences of too much "America is #1," frat boy, propaganda bull. It might just make a regular man irrationally drop $3.6 million to go fight in a conflict that was anything but "self-defense." The same could be said of the unusual belief of 50 percent of the American nation that thinks Saddam Hussein was behind Sept. 11. One must indeed stand in awe of the amazing success of the American propaganda machine. It works wonders.
Al-Qaeda won't be defeated in Afghanistan, even if we did kill all their operatives there. Only through careful and logical changing of the underlying conditions that allow for the ideology to foster will Al-Qaeda be defeated. Ask the Israelis if 50 years of blunt force have eradicated the Palestinian resistance. For that reason, Tillman's service, along with that of thousands of American soldiers, has been wrongly utilized. He did die in vain, because in the years to come, we will realize the irrationality of the War on Terror and the American reaction to Sept. 11. The sad part is that we won't realize it before we send more people like Pat Tillman over to their deaths.
Rene Gonzalez is a UMass graduate student.
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
03 May 2004
WOW!

Foreigners whining about sixty-five dollars while they get a education subsidized by American taxpayers.

PATHETIC!
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
03 May 2004
WOW!

Foreigners whining about sixty-five dollars while they get a education subsidized by American taxpayers.

PATHETIC!
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
03 May 2004
WOW!

Foreigners whining about sixty-five dollars while they get a education subsidized by American taxpayers.

PATHETIC!
The true heroism of Pat Tillman vs a bitter, hateful, unmanly little "man"
03 May 2004
I was not only shocked but also disgusted by the very inhuman and despicable
comments that UMass student Rene Gonzalez dared to write in THE DAILY
COLLEGIAN on April 28, 2004.

At first I was shocked because I couldn't believe any conscious being could
be such a coward, a sissy and disgusting unpatriotic human being to dare to
question the validity, the sacrifice and the true heroism of Pat Tillman,
who not only gave up a millionaire NFL salary and career to join the Army
Rangers in 2002 but who also paid for his commitment and conviction with the
ultimate sacrifice for his nation and for his beliefs.

I am glad to know that at least the UMass President Jack Wilson said that
what Rene Gonzalez did was "a disgusting, arrogant and intellectually
immature attack on a human being who died in service to his country."

Anyone reading Mr. Gonzalez' ill-chosen words would be left with no choice
but to see him as he really is --- a typically bitter Lefty full of hate for
this nation and for real men willing to do more than think about themselves
or to indulge themselves in disingenuous political games.

But then, it is so easy for a coward like Gonzalez to hide behind his high
tech computer at a very prestigious university to attack someone (even after
his death) who cannot defend himself or his actions. It is also very
convenient for Gonzalez to forget, if he ever knew it, that his freedom of
speech is only possible thanks to the heroism of the Pat Tillmans of this
planet. How easy it is must have been for Gonzalez to write his childish
pseudo-political prattle without even acknowledging that the people under
the Taliban and the still lingering Sadam regime did not have the privilege
or the right to speak their minds without been terrorized and killed for
attempting to engage in what Gonzalez takes for granted so lightly.

However, for me what is even more personal is that Gonzalez can attack a
real patriot and that the ilk of a Rene Gonzalez will now can become a
symbol of what Puerto Rican people feel and think. Nothing can be further
from the truth.

In my own neighborhood in Hatillo, Puerto Rico where I was raised, a Rene
Gonzalez would be considered (in good Spanish) a "cobarde", a "envidioso"
and a "cafre". And so for this reason I must take this opportunity to remind
my fellow Americans that the vast majority of the 4 million Puerto Ricans
that live in Puerto Rico are not only proud of being USA citizens but would
make sacrifices to protect the democratic principles and institutions for
which the United States of America stands. I must also remind all who read
or heard of Gonzalez' disgraceful commentary that many Puerto Ricans have
fought to the death defending, like Pat Tillman, their NATION and our
democracy.

We should all remember as well that since WWI, Puerto Ricans have served by
the thousands (even as volunteers) in the U.S. Armed Forces in every USA
war. In fact, more than 200,000 U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico have served in
the U.S. Armed Forces in the past century alone. There was even an
all-Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment, a volunteer unit formed in 1899 and
it heroically served with distinction from its inception during both world
wars and the Korean Conflict. Today there are more than 53,000 Puerto Ricans
in the U.S. Armed Forces, and more than half are on active duty, according
to Pentagon reports.

And we should also remember that as Mr. Gonzalez sipped his cappuccino and
lounged in his library carrel very snugly and safely, thousands of soldiers
from Puerto Rico are still mobilized and serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. I
am proud of them. They too are heroes and are very disappointed by Mr.
Gonzalez' flights of political fancy at Umass.

Of course Rene Gonzalez will never know or understand anything about what it
means to be a REAL man or what sacrifice, patriotism are --- they are not
required for any of his classes.

Rene Gonzalez can apology ad infinitum but we all know not only his pathetic
politics but also how ungrateful someone like him is as he hides in his
little political gopher hole in academe, where such behaviors are standard
practice. It is obvious for all to see once again, the difference between a
real man, a real hero Pat Tillman and a bitter, hateful little "man".

Shame on Rene Gonzalez for screaming hateful words from his very safe
position. How truly sad it is that he will never understand the sacrifice
and the heroism of Pat Tillman and "his macho, patriotic crap", because in
order to understand it he would need to be a REAL and honest man and a real
patriot! Imagine that, Manliness, Honesty and Patriotism --- Three
important qualities predictably lacking on the LEFT.

Rene Gonzalez is an embarrassment to his family, his nation and to himself.

I rest my case.

Juan Rodriguez, University of Wisconsin-Madison C'96
Re: UMass students fight international student 'fee'
11 Mar 2005
No wonder why Latin America is the next Afghanistan for you guys.
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