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Editorial: Adequate housing must be provided for international students over break

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Joshua Pantano

It is essential that Ithaca College provides proper accommodations for international students over break. Ensuring students adequate housing, meals and overall support over break is the bare minimum for maintaining the well-being of international students.

There is an unfair expectation that all students will be able to return home when classes are not in session. For many international students, that is not a reality. The cost of an international flight alone is financially inaccessible to many. A CNBC article from May 2023 found that the consumer price index for airline tickets increased by 25% from 2022 to 2023. While the dramatic increase of airline costs is set to stabilize more in 2024, one report predicted an additional 3-7% increase in cost of global airfare. 

On top of these astronomical costs, the logistics of planning the trip, getting transportation to the airport, taking long flights, dealing with jet lag and then having to do it all again to return to school are exhausting. It is unacceptable to expect international students to be able to travel home for every break. 

For international students who stay on campus over breaks, there are not currently adequate accommodations set in place. Only Eastman, Terrace 6 and Tallcott allow students to live on campus over break, in addition to Circle and Garden apartments. While it is understandable that not all residence halls can remain open over break, students should not be expected to rearrange their year-long housing plans just so they have somewhere to live over break.  

This winter break there were also extremely limited dining options. Dining halls were closed from Dec. 18 to Wednesday Jan. 3. Upon re-opening, only the Terrace Dining Hall was open until Jan. 8. These limited hours require students to find alternative dining options that are often more costly and may require additional transportation to get to a store or restaurant. Students should never have to struggle to find accessible food on campus at any point in the year.

Providing adequate housing and dining options for international students is a necessity. Students do not disappear just because classes are not in session. It is up to the college to ensure they are taken care of, especially during breaks.

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