Attendees voted to lobby the University to adjust international tuition fees for the next academic year at the sixth and final Student Council of this academic year.
Though it proved a controversial motion with many attendees speaking both for and against it and the introduction of a procedural motion, only a simple majority was required for the ordinary motion to pass. With 57.5% of attendees voting in favour of the motion, it just managed to pass.
The original motion was to mandate the Sabbatical Officers and the International Students Officer to lobby the University to take steps to minimise the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the studies of international students, and to reduce international students’ tuition fees or increase scholarship and bursaries opportunities.
During the Council, which was held via Zoom, a heated debate arose over whether this should be expanded to include domestic students too. Proponents of this argued that domestic students also pay high tuition fees and have similarly been disadvantaged during the pandemic, however suggestions of including this as a procedural amendment were rejected by the Chair of Council as this would steer the motion too far from its original intent. Furthermore, there was opposition to this expansion, with supporters of the original motion describing how international students often have to pay double the tuition fees of domestic students.
The motion, which was proposed by Hussnain Shahid and seconded by Ali Zuhad, both incoming International Officers, was one of eight to pass over the course of the two-hour Council sitting.
Reflecting on his final Council as Chair, Stephen Dawes said: “It been a genuine pleasure to chair Student Council for this year and its work is testament to the caring and intelligent afire of many Newcastle students. Although at times lively, Council has and will always be a place that is fierce in defence of the gentle.”
Last modified: 7th May 2020