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How a U of S student union rule prevents international students from holding office
SASKATOON -- Celeste Nunez was surprised to learn international students at the University of Saskatchewan can’t hold executive positions on the students' union, a policy she wants to see changed.
"It’s just about making the constitution more inclusive and possible," Nunez said, who is from Ecuador.
Nunez studies environmental science and has been attending the university since 2016.
Through her work at the International Student and Study Abroad Centre on campus Nunez said she discovered the University of Saskatchewan Students' Union (USSU)election bylaw effectively excludes international students from holding office.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada requires international students to take 18 credit units, while the students' union limits the number of credit units for a candidate to 12.
The 12-credit rule is intended to ensure students can handle the demands of an executive role, according to the USSU. The positions are paid, with a salary of about $40,000 a year.
But Nunez believes that international students are in the best position to decide whether they can handle the added responsibilities.
"It’s a super time demanding role, but I’m not here discussing whether an international student can do it or not, " Nunez said
Nunez has drafted amendments to the USSU bylaw which have been reviewed by legal counsel. Those will be presented to the students' union AGM on November 21.
Her proposed amendments include a clause which would exclude international students from having to adhere to the 12 credit units limit.
She said she’s not planning to run for office, but is doing this work to ensure that international students moving forward aren’t restricted.