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Chinese students call for semester start to be delayed

Thousands of Chinese students will be unable to return to Australia in time for the start of semester one due to the travel ban.

SRC General Secretary Abbey Shi who has organised the petition.

Chinese international students have organised a petition calling on universities to delay the semester one 2020 start date in reaction to the travel ban announced this week.

The University of Sydney Representative Council (SRC) and the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA) are collectively calling affected students to sign their names. Over 4000 international students have already signed the petition. 

The petition asks the University to delay the start date of the upcoming semester for two weeks, from the original date of February 24 to March 9. At present, there are at least 5 Chinese student societies that have expressed their support for the petition, including the Sydney University Chinese Student Association, Chinese Law Student Society (CLSS) and China Development Society (CDS). 

The University has announced that classes will begin on 24th February as planned. This means that when Chinese international students return, they will face more academic pressure as a result of being absent for two weeks, if they are indeed able to return for this time. 

SRC International Student Office Bearer Kigen Mera said, “The ramifications of missing a semester of study for international students can be very sophisticated. For those in China, all of us will have to extend our student visas to catch up. Some of us already paid rent and other financial expenses for next semester, which will go to waste if we are to commence as usual.”

The negative influence of the travel ban has a further influence on clubs and societies. International student Michaela Cai told Honi.  “As the president of Boardgame Society, I am worried about the orientation week as most of my executives are not able to enter into Australia.” 

SRC President Liam Donohoe has called a protest on February 7th to stand with Chinese international students who are affected by the coronavirus and against Sinophobia on campus. 

The number of students who have signed the petition continues to grow but so far there has been no response from the University.

More to come.