A hate message attached to an X-Building washroom stall has prompted NAIT and NAITSA to release a joint statement earlier this October. The message targeted Filipino people, but no one has come forward to take responsibility for it since the school was notified.
“We’ve never had a situation, as long as I’ve been here, like this,” said NAITSA President Tyleen Saison. “It’s not acceptable, we don’t want any students to feel like they’re unwelcome here on campus.”
Saison added that there was another, less blatant, bathroom message earlier in the year. One of NAITSA’s team members found the note and swiftly removed it, but their team felt no need to address it as it was the first minor incident. Although Saison did not elaborate on the type of note found, NAITSA’s team is now actively monitoring washrooms for more messages.
“Sending the statement was something simple for us to do, but also a call to action for students,” said Saison. “If there was more situations like this, it can be called to our attention so that we can also help mitigate anything like that as well.”
There are roughly 2,600 international students from 84 countries within NAIT’s credit programs. According to NAIT’s Annual Report for 2022-23, the school plans to increase international student enrollment to 30 per cent of all degree, diploma and certificate enrollment on campus by 2027.
With the school’s growing international student population, NAITSA’s president advises students to meet with people from other cultures in order to support and understand different perspectives.
“Having diversity on campus brings us […] just a little more life and vibrancy on campus,” said Saison. “[T]he fact that you can just meet people who may have a completely different opinion than you will make you a better person at the end of the day.”
For those interested in broadening their intercultural horizons, NAITSA and the International and Intercultural Community Centre (IICC) host various events throughout the school year to help students interact with their campus community.