Many people do not know about ISA, but they know what SGA is. Simply, the SGA stands for Student Government Association, and the ISA is for International Student Association. The SGA is here to help ULM students; ISA is specially designed to help international students. For international students, ISA sets up dates for orientation, creates activities, events and opportunities to associate with other students; so that international student won’t feel disadvantaged.
On Sept. 27, 2012, all international students received a message that there was going to be an international students meeting at the Wesley Foundation for sharing experiences and election for ISA offices. The election was simple; however, it was not the way that I thought it should be. The following is a short summary about how we elected ISA officers. In this case, we were voting for vice president.
People, who would like to run for vice-president, came to the front and introduce himself or herself, gave reasons why he or she wanted to be, then they left the room and waited for the result. I was one of the candidates for vice president. I heard something when I was standing outside of the room. Dr. Mara Loeb called a person’s name and counted how many people raised their hands up. The election was quickly done by counting hands and announcing who got majority of votes. One of Nepalese student became vice-president. Not only I was not picked for vice-president, I wished I could say this election was so not fair or right.
When I stepped into the Wesley Foundation, I realized half of the students were Nepalese. And it was explained well enough to know why ISA, or any form of international organization, has so many Nepalese officers; additionally, Nepalese students have had great achievements at ULM, however, I have hardly ever seen or heard about other international students’ accomplishment at ULM.
Even Dr. Loeb mentioned, “Do not give a vote for a person, because of their nationality.” To be honest, I do not think it worked as well as she expected. It is so predictable that if person has a choice to pick someone among others of different nationalities, he or she would most likely select someone of the same nationality. There could be much reason why people pick their own race, culture, country. But I do not want to talk about this because we are all smart enough to feel why we make decisions in this kind of situation.
The ISA should have done the election differently. ISA is about all international students. Specifically one country should not have more votes than another country has. Why should one part have more influence than other? Where is the equality and fairness?
Like America, a state with a large population could have many house representatives; however, for equality and fair justice, regardless of population, a state can have only two senators. Our election should have limited number of votes for each country. In ULM, we have approximately 40 different nationalities, or it could be larger than that. I want to note that I have nothing against the Nepalese, but I hope this letter might bring about some changes. Therefore all international students can have equal opportunities to be engaged in ULM- organization.
Gi Jeong Kim (Kale)