Second year Board Director Zimeng Ye has written to USU CEO Alexis Roitman to announce her resignation from the USU Board.
Whilst past Student Directors have been replaced by the person who received the next highest vote share in the last Board election, Zimeng’s resignation was submitted with less than six months remaining of her term.
Under the provisions of the USU Constitution, her vacancy will not be filled and the Board will continue with only ten Student Directors until 30 June this year.
“In her time at the USU, Zimeng Ye was a strong board director, with a passion for the needs of fellow international students. She pushed for initiatives and events such as her beloved Twice Loved Market,” commented USU President Connor Wherrett.
Zimeng’s resignation letter noted that she had finished her degree at the University of Sydney and that the recently instated travel ban meant it would be incredibly difficult for her to attend in-person Board meetings in Australia. She also cited concerns about obtaining a visa in this period.
Zimeng is just one of thousands of Chinese international students in Australian universities barred from entering the country by the travel ban.
Board Directors Benny Shen and Irene Ma are self isolating in Thailand and Australia. Meanwhile, Eve Wang and Oscar Bai are to the Board’s knowledge stuck in China. All are first year Board Directors.
Wherrett has condemned the ban as “Sinophobic, restrictive and reactive”.
“We’re urging the University and Federal Government to either lift the ban, or make extreme accommodations to reduce any disadvantages faced by international students over the coming months.”
In response to the developing coronavirus outbreak, the University of Sydney has extended enrolment for two weeks after the start of semester. Moreover, Melbourne’s Monash University has delayed the start of semester one classes by one week.
The higher education sector worth $39 billion a year is looking at a minimum $8 billion budget hit if Chinese international students are not allowed to return this semester.
More to come.