A college in eastern China has responded against the accusation of prioritizing international students by forcing Chinese students to relocate to inferior residences, calling the room change a regular practice of school management.
The controversy is ignited by a video shared on China’s Twitter-like Weibo on late July 10, in which two school teachers of Wuxi Institute of Technology, a vocational school in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, were arguing with protesting students, yelling at them to move out the dorm as quickly as possible and stating that “The residence is school’s property. On what stance do you have the right to question the school’s decision?”
According to the students, the college’s move was to make spaces for more international students. Over 400 Chinese students living in the current residence were asked to relocate to another residence for 320 international students that newly enrolled.
However, the current residence in the newest building in school has the best facilities and environment; while the replacement residence is an old one. “Students (in the replacement building) can only use public showers nearby, and these have restricted hours. We were forced into this for overseas students. This is so unfair,” said by a student to South China Morning Post.
Feeling upset about the eviction order, many students refused to leave, leading to several unsuccessful attempts from teachers to persuade them and then the final straw erupted between school authorities and student protesters.
After the video was released, tens of thousands netizens shared their sympathies with the students, especially after some students further exposed that the school was threatening them with denying their graduation or expulsions. The school also tried to identify and “talk” to the anonymous student who posted the video online.
The school first denied making such threats to the students who did not comply, but later admitted it was improper and personal behavior made by singular teachers. The school also admitted the threats as well as the attitude shown in video was indecent. And the related teachers need to be “educated.”
In response, the school has issued a statement on July 11 on Weibo, which has gathered over 60,000 comments and 10,000 shares. As mentioned in the statement, “the room change is a regular practice. Many meetings were taken to do the planning and students were informed about the change. The decision was made for management convenience to accommodate the increased international students in two residences that are close with each other.”
“The shower facilities in the replacement residence will meet the needs, though with restricted hours of hot water. But regarding the appeal from students for 24-7 access to hot water, the school will renovate the residence during summer vacation.”
“Now, all students have been moved to the older building.”
It is not the first time a Chinese college has quarreled about sacrificing local students to give the “best” facilities to international students. Just several days ago, the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine in east China’s Jiangsu Province was also exposed to evict Chinese students to much inferior residences in order to make room for international students. The school issued a statement to withdraw its decision and launched a renovation project on July 6.