SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – An international student from Savannah’s College of Art and Design (SCAD) is starting a movement through Instagram.
He said his goal is to shed light on how school closures and transitions to online learning have impacted student’s daily lives.
“I haven’t really been able to catch my breath since finals week,” said Yu-Heng Li who goes by the pseudonym “Pink.”
Pink is a Sequential Art major in his second year. He said since SCAD announced they would be closing all campuses due to the spread of COVID-19, his life has been chaotic.
On March 13, his parents informed him he can’t go back to his home country. He said he also lost his on-campus job.
“Because of my student visa I cannot work off-campus,” said Pink. “It’s also made a direct impact on my family’s finances.”
Pink took his frustrations to Instagram and found many students who feel the same. His first post in the series called “Choice” asked international and domestic students to send in statements explaining how the closures have impacted their lives.
He said the name spotlights the lack of options many international students feel like they have since travel bans and campuses were shut down.
“We want to be heard and there are concerns and extreme circumstances that students are facing,” said Pink. “We could really use the school’s help.”
He and others want administrators to come to the table and consider providing some kind of financial compensation.
Pink and other students said in no way are the blaming the university for the fallout of a global pandemic. They simply want to discuss what can be done in light of these extenuating circumstances.
Luke Perryman, a SCAD graduate student, says although equipment fees are part of their tuition, they won’t have access to the equipment in a virtual learning environment.
“The quality of our education is not the same and for all the work they put in we are grateful,” Perryman said. “With that being said, we are receiving less, but still expected to give the same in return.”
In public statements, SCAD has said they have a task force specifically dedicated to virtual learning. Prior to the shutdown, the university offered 27 degrees fully online.
“We are withholding any student movements, like petitions and protest, because we see this as a learning opportunity and a learning curve for both SCAD and the student body,” said Pink.
He fears if his circumstances continue, he won’t make rent and would possibly have to turn himself to a refugee camp.
News 3 reached out to a SCAD spokesperson about whether the university is providing any kind of resources for students during this time. We are waiting to hear back.