ASG to Advocate for More Resources for International Students

Associated+Student+Government+Student+Trustee%2C+Cody+Sedano+speaks+to+the+ASG+at+their+meeting+on+Oct.+27%2C+2015.+

Photo by: Jasmine Yoro

Associated Student Government Student Trustee, Cody Sedano speaks to the ASG at their meeting on Oct. 27, 2015.

The Associated Student Government [ASG] Student Trustee, Cody Sedano, expressed concerns over what he says is a lack of services for international students at Fresno City College and vows that the ASG will work towards resolving the problems.

“Myself and other members of ASG, and ASG as a whole,” he said, “we’re probably going to move [Nov. 3] to make international students one of our top priority at the moment.”

During the ASG meeting in the Student Chambers on Oct. 27, Sedano had said, “We have a problem on this campus, and it’s that international students have nowhere to go. They do not have a center.”

Sedano said that international students do not have the luxury of having a center, similar to the Veterans Resource Center or the DREAM Center, that is dedicated to them, where they can seek advice.

“A lot of them [international students] are failing their classes,” Sedano said. “These students need help.”

Interim President Cynthia Azari disagrees with Sedano’s assessment of the situation and said that the college provides adequate resources where international students can go to seek advice and guidance.

“We actually have an office for international students, and there is a place for [international] students to go,” Azari said.

The college president said that the international students office is located downstairs in the student services building where it shares a space with the DREAM Center.

Additionally, Azari said the college is in the process of training two counselors — Evie Contreras and Susana Garcia — to work with international students. Meanwhile, international students counselor, Laura DeSantiago-Gomez is on leave till the end of the semester.

Although Contreras and Garcia are still in training, Azari said, “They [Contreras and Garcia] have been working with international students to provide advising and helping them plan their schedule for next semester.”

Azari said that approximately 146 out of approximately 23,000 students who attend FCC are international students.

“I’ve talked to them [international students] around campus,” Sedano said. “I know who they are; I know these students, and they have actual problems.”

He said he has spoken to more than 20 international students who complain about the difficulties they are experiencing, including getting help to properly complete paperwork.

“Not only do they [international students] go through so many departments of the U.S. government just to come to school here, they need help with certain paperwork and getting certain things through,” Sedano said.

Sedano says that although there is an office for international students to go to, “They’re far from home, and I feel like they need the help more than others.”

Sedano said there could be more guidance and resources available for international students.

He also said the ASG will try to get international students their own center, similar to the Veterans Resource Center or the DREAM Center, but would also want to work together with the FCC community in order to bring an international students’ center on campus.

“We don’t have anymore space [for an international students’ center],” Azari said. “I’d have to dedicate a classroom, and then we would have to have fewer classes; that’s not going to work.”

If an international students’ center were to be created at FCC, it would be ideal to have resources, studying areas and counselors, said Sedano.

“We [ASG] just want to make sure that people know that there is a huge need for a place for international students to go,” Sedano said. “They need resources, and they need them bad.”