Almost all student organizations in Bergen, among them SAIH Bergen, Amnesty Student Bergen and ESN Bergen, hold regular General Assemblies, except one – International Students Union at the University of Bergen (ISU-UIB).
ISU-UIB is a local chapter of ISU Norway whose purpose is to ensure that human rights and interests of international students are protected according to section 2.1. of the ISU-UIB constitution.
For instance, when UDI increased international student visa fees by 60 percent in 2018, ISU-UIB is the type of organization that was supposed to take some form of action, like organizing a local protest to complement the efforts of ISU Norway which held one in Oslo.
- Read ISU-UIBs answer to the allegations here.
If an international student faces any form of discrimination that prevents them from enjoying their academic rights, ISU-UIB is the organization they are supposed to approach, since one of its objectives is to bring to light and oppose discrimination according to section 2.5.
An organization that bears such a monumental responsibility and represents a huge number of international students, around 1880 according to the UIB website, should hold regular General Assemblies to consult students and give them a voice in how their organization is run.
Any international student at UIB with a valid semester card is a member of ISU-UIB by simple virtue of being an international student. That’s according to section 3.1.1. of the ISU-UIB constitution.
ISU-UIB, which receives funds from entities such as Velferdstinget and engages other organizations on behalf of all international students, last held an official General Assembly in 2017.
Section 3.2.2. of the ISU UIB constitution states: «The General Assembly convenes at least twice per academic year, in the beginning of each semester. The first assembly shall be held in the beginning of September and the second assembly shall be held in the beginning of February».
If no General Assemblies are being held, how are members being informed of the way resources are managed and who is electing leaders? These are among some of the key purposes of a General Assembly.
The current president of ISU-UIB, Arooj Munor, has held her post since 2017. Constitutionally, the president of the organization can only be elected at a General Assembly. According to section 3.2.3, the president and two thirds of the ISU-UIB board have the power to call for an assembly. Why didn’t they do so in the previous year?
International students should put pressure on the ISU-UIB leadership to hold a General Assembly. They deserve to know how their organization is being run and how resources that are given in their name are spent.
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