Guest Post: Call for Action from the International Students Community

This guest post was co-written by Shizuha Hatori ’18 and Yao Ong ’18 and addresses proposed administrative restructuring of the Office of International Student Affairs.

As part of a restructuring of services for international students, Wesleyan is making two new hires: a “professor of the practice” position for an ESL writing specialist, and an entry-level administrative position for a person intended to be in charge of international student affairs and responsible for some of the clerical duties in the office. These two “new” positions are meant to play roles that Professor Alice Hadler has been fulfilling competently for many years. This reorganization, on which she was not consulted, was tantamount to forcing Professor Hadler into retirement.

In response to this plan, the incoming director of the Fries Center for Global Studies and a faculty member in the College of East Asian Studies offered a proposal aimed at making the FCGS truly global; the idea was to have Professor Hadler train and coach staff over a transition period of 2-3 years in the various areas in which she works, while continuing to support international students as she has done so effectively for many years. When the proposal was rejected, more than 30 faculty members signed a letter to the provost asking for reconsideration of the proposal. For many weeks they received no reply.

In the last week, thanks to an overwhelming outpouring of support from current international students and alumni/ae, the situation has been resolved in a way that will allow Professor Hadler to bring her experience and expertise to the Wesleyan community through the FCGS for a period scheduled to end with her retirement at the conclusion of the 2019-20 academic year.

As members of the Wesleyan community, we have all—international and domestic students alike—benefited directly and indirectly for more than two decades from Professor Hadler’s care and hard work. Wesleyan’s international student population has grown, stayed healthy, integrated seamlessly, and become central to the life of the university. While we are gratified that our determined advocacy for Professor Hadler has given her an opportunity to secure her legacy, at least in part, we still need to make our voices heard.

Moving forward, there is going to be students’ involvement in restructuring of Wesleyan’s international students affairs. Students are building a solid platform for coming academic years, so that the momentum stays as strong as now, and the movement will be sustained. If you would like to be involved, email shatori[at]wesleyan[dot]edu. All students are welcome.