9/11 had little effect on KSU’s International Affairs office

Katie Roupe

Sept. 11 was said to have changed everything, but it didn’t seem to change the way Kent’s Office of International Affairs was run, Melissa Hughes said.

“It’s hard to say that any changes are directly connected with Sept. 11,” said Hughes, International Student and Scholar Services immigration compliance specialist. “Of course there are changes in legislation like the Patriot Act. There are things which have directly impacted the way we create immigration documents, but I wouldn’t say it’s just the one act of Sept. 11. It has a lot do with the immigration regulation change.”

She said there are more visa denials, some embassies are closed and government officials are stricter with whom they let into the country, but those changes can’t be pinpointed on Sept. 11. Immigration papers are now tracked electronically instead of through mail.

There was, however, a national decrease of exchange students the year following Sept. 11, Hughes said. But for Kent State, the population of international students remained steady during 2001-2002, and increased over the following years. Hughes said the increase could be because of better service and better recruitment.

Alex Kamarashki, sophomore finance major, said whenever he flew he wasn’t scared, just excited. However, he said he was security checked various times during his trip to America.

“I’m fine with it though,” Kamarashki said. “I’d rather have them check me than have someone blow up a plane.”

Kamarashki, who is from Bulgaria, said some things have changed since Sept. 11, such as tougher security checks. Corruption with receiving visas are among other problems that have already existed.

“I know one person that had to pay $5,000 more to be able to get his visa,” Kamarashki said. “That’s 50 times more than the regular cost.”

Even though problems with the visa system have slowed down students’ travels, Sept. 11 hasn’t, Hughes said.

“It’s important to remember what happened on Sept. 11 because it drastically affected our lives in every way,” Hughes said. “But it’s important to work through what happened to reach a better tomorrow.”

Contact honors and international affairs reporter Katie Roupe at [email protected].