In the March 24 article âÄúGAPSA considers grad unionization,âÄù Bree Dalager stated that she had âÄútalked with international students who were concerned that if they didnâÄôt join the union, they might lose their visa.âÄù I take exception to DalagerâÄôs statements for her assumptions about who international graduate students are, what we do and what we think.
I am an international student who has signed up for the union and strongly supports unionization. The right to collective bargaining is an inalienable human right. I would very much like to see all graduate students, including all international students, support the union. There is no connection whatsoever between union membership and international student visas.
I also take issue with DalagerâÄôs attempt to denigrate the many graduate students all over campus working hard to form the union. ItâÄôs offensive that Dalager just implicitly assumes that international students are not themselves the organizers of the union and are simply passive recipients of the organizing message. Let me assure you, there are plenty of international students who are actively organizing the union, and they are certainly not spreading the kind of misinformation about their own visas that Dalager spread in the article.
It is ironic that on the one hand Dalager talks about holding âÄúpublic information sessionsâÄù to sort out the supposed âÄúrumors and confusionâÄù about unionization and on the other hand actually creates and circulates such rumors herself.
Neither Dalager nor any other member of student government has the right to speak on behalf of international students regarding unionization. It is a matter to be discussed, debated and sorted out between our union and the University of Minnesota.