President Kennedy’s Statement about International Students

CU’s more than 4,000 international students are vital contributors to the university’s bottom line.

In the April 2021 President’s Newsletter, Mark Kennedy outlined the benefits that international students bring to the four campuses of the University of Colorado.  Earth Muffins’ investigative reporter Boe Jiden has obtained an early draft of President Kennedy’s statement, where his editors pointed out a few problematic turns of phrase.  Here it is.

While recovering from addiction in my mid-20s, my wealthy parents gave me the opportunity to study abroad in the Netherlands. Although I had many international friends from my days in rehab, I hadn’t traveled outside the U.S. I was eager to visit the Red Light District in Amsterdam, meet loose women and sample the marijuana in the local “coffeeshops.”

I thoroughly enjoyed my time overseas and quickly experienced one of the direct benefits of studying abroad. After numerous encounters – many wonderful, some awkward, others challenging – the American Embassy was able to secure my release from a Dutch prison and get me safely back home to the United States.

At CU we welcome our international students with open arms and empty pockets. They enrich our campuses and enhance our profits. We have more than 4,000 international students across CU’s four campuses paying exorbitant tuition fees that help keep us afloatWithout them, we would have to charge our American students a great deal more.  I’m sure this will make sense to you.  After all, I pay more for imported beer than for domestic so “turnabout is fair play.”

People who study abroad – and study alongside those from other nations – benefit from social and cultural diversity and learning differing perspectives and approaches to common experiences.  My own exposure to students from other countries suggests that domestic students should probably  try to avoid engaging with international students because it’s awkward: they’re hard to understand and they smell.  So, to be truthful, the major reason I advocated against last year’s proposed restrictions on international students is that they bring in so much money that, without them, we might as well close up shop.

Like most U.S. colleges and universities, CU saw a dramatic decrease in international student enrollment this year, largely because of the pandemic and partially because of politics. While America’s history sadly includes stretches of isolationism, only recently in my lifetime have we turned inward as a nation. So, in November 2020, for the first time in my life, I didn’t vote Republican.  While Donald Trump is my personal hero and my role model, I had to vote for Biden in the hope that he would restore to CU the flow of cash from overseas.

As the world reopens, I am committed to fostering a welcoming environment at CU for international students’ money and supporting our current students in their endeavors to study in other nations, as long as we don’t lose any of their tuition dollars.

Speaking of diplomacy, I contend there are no better diplomats for a nation than its students. During my time in the Netherlands, I found myself trading dirty jokes and discussing sexual conquests with my cellmate.  “I don’t understand why you Americans have been so slow to legalize marijuana and to embrace sexual liberation.”  I trust 2021 will see a resurgence of such celebration of our differences.

Earth Muffins congratulates President Kennedy’s writers and editors for turning his words into something more socially acceptable, albeit not as honest.