Under pressure from Senates, Ohio University may revise international student insurance policy

Graduate Student Senator Ed Simpson

Graduate Student Senator Ed Simpson discusses proposed changes with the University's health insurance policy

International students carry many burdens during their time in Athens. Distance, language barriers, cultural chasms – these things all make life rather challenging for international students.

Another is money – specifically, having to pay Ohio University for health insurance coverage, regardless of whether they have coverage from their home countries. American students can opt out of the university’s health insurance plan if they can present proof of coverage.

That may soon change.

Under pressure from both the Student Senate and the Graduate Student Senate, OU officials are working with their insurance broker, Wells Fargo, to determine ways to address that disparity.

According to Graduate Student Senator Ed Simpson, “We would like Wells Fargo to determine by summer’s end what the results of their review will be.”

Asked if he thought this would have a negative impact on international student attendance, Simpson said, “No. Actually, we think it’ll be an advantage, and we think it’ll lead to increased attendance from international students.”

Dean of Students Ryan Lombardi has stated that the main issue is whether or not the foreign health insurance coverage plans properly cover students. While there haven’t been any issues yet, according to Simpson, the possibility still remains that issues could crop up in the future. One of the gaps discovered by the university concerns whether or not insurance would pay to have a student’s body shipped back to the country of origin in the event of death.

According to the 2010 Ohio University Factbook, there are 1,437 international students at the university. The vast majority hail from the Far East, where the university has partnerships with several institutions of higher education.

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr (1929-1968)

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

I’ve not always lived my life by this precept (or others, for that matter), but by me, that’s how I want to look back at my life, once I sight the sunset: where did I stand when challenge, crisis and controversy came my way?

Tragedy in the desert

Sleep does not come easy for me tonight.

It does not come easy many nights, but tonight is different. Earlier Saturday, a young man named Jared Lee Loughner, armed with a pistol, shot and killed six people at a Congressional neighborhood meeting hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, including the Congresswoman, who still lives. Tragically, a nine-year-old girl was among those assassinated.

Christina Green had just been elected to student council. A ballet dancer, Christina had been invited to Giffords’ event by a neighbor who thought she’d be interested in meeting the Congresswoman.

We don’t know yet what motivated Loughner to commit this monstrous act; we’ll find out soon enough, since he was apprehended as he tried to flee the scene. At any rate, I don’t want to write about this tonight. That time will come, but not tonight.

Tonight, on this tragic day, we might ask ourselves what kind of country we are, and what kind of country we might be. We might give ourselves over to a desire for revenge, to find our cup overflowing with anger and bitterness.

We might do that. This country, at once beloved and benighted, is all too divided.

And yet, that is precisely what we do not need in America at this moment. What, then, do we need?

I ask that question of young Christina tonight, and there is only silence. In that hallowed silence, though, lies the answer to our question: what we need in America is not anger, but wisdom; not violence, but compassion; not hatred, but love for one another.

Christina Green was born on 9/11/01; in her death, could not something yet pass from her to all of us?

Tonight, we say our prayers for the dead, and we pray to keep the living; and while we pray, let us also pray for our beloved country, that we may yet achieve a measure of peace and compassion for one another. In our despair, let us pray to receive a measure of wisdom; night may have fallen, but the morning comes. And in that morning, let us redeem the fallen by redeeming the scarred, torn world we all inhabit.

Six years ago Wikipedia started with a radical idea. That’s true. I ain’t promising you nothing extra. I’m just giving you life and you’re giving me life. And I’m saying that men can live together without butchering one another.

Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.

Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy.

Please consider a generous donation to the Wikimedia Foundation.

(Photo courtesy Apple, Inc.)

By now, you’ve heard that Apple has secured the rights to sell the Beatles’ catalog on iTunes. People have been expecting that to happen for years now, so the announcement is fairly anti-climactic: more “about time!” and “finally!” than “awesome!”.

That’s not what I’m concerned with, though. I want you to take a good look at the picture.

I don’t know when the photograph was taken, but it had to have been at or near the apex of their creative powers – maybe around Revolver or The White Album. Regardless, two things struck me about that picture.

One, look at how Paul McCartney and John Lennon are standing – John’s back is turned to Paul, and you can viscerally feel the gulf between them.

Two, the picture is strikingly modern. If I didn’t know the Beatles, and the picture was enhanced to look more “contemporary”, I’d easily guess that they were a present-day band.

It’s this sense of “timelessness” that I suspect drove Apple to announce the acquisition with such fanfare. And yet…it’s been over 50 years since they arrived on the music scene. John and George are dead, Paul is now Sir Paul and Ringo is sort of the music world’s daft uncle. I can’t help but think that the fanfare is more elegiac than triumphant.

There are no words.

(photo credit Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By now, you know that at least 25,000 students protested an onerous hike in British university fees today. The Coalition government is proposing to increase tuition at British universities to about £9,000/year (or about $14,500/year).

I know that number doesn’t seem too onerous here in the U.S. – but, as in most things, it’s the United States that’s wildly out of sync. When I mention to foreign friends that American law school students can expect to graduate with around $250,000 (yes, a quarter of a million) of student loan debt, the universal response is revulsion. They’re used to comprehensive state subsidies for higher education.

Here’s the thing: any cogent arguments that were made at today’s demonstrations are essentially obliterated by the picture above. And that’s a damned shame.