Editorial: Welcome foreign students

Potential foreign students may undergo difficulties getting into U.S. universities if the government tightens its requirements and monitors the students more closely.

However, in light of Sept. 11?s tragedy, the nation must not be so quick to discourage potential ?ambassadors? from other nations. To do so would make the United States seem like a bad neighbor and it could affect Americans? interaction with people of other cultures around the world.

In university settings, the need for diversity is great. Meeting people of different cultures, backgrounds and religions is what makes the United States such a great nation. Foreign students already face a laundry list of difficulties just getting permission to study in the United States.

Last year, the government proposed a tracking system that would be implemented in about three years. The system would require all universities to collect certain data on international students ranging from residence to changes in majors.

However, such information would be difficult to track and would not necessarily flag something illegal or criminal. Of the estimated 500,000 international students in the United States, it is unknown how many may be or are possible terrorists. The tracking system would only make more work for universities.What lesson would it be for international students to know they are being watched in the so-called ?land of the free?? International students should be treated like citizens and given the opportunity to experience American life without worrying about being watched by the government.The government should realize that the majority of international students come here to learn about our country, its freedoms and people, not to destroy it. We, as a nation, should treat them as welcome neighbors and extend goodwill, not paranoia and suspicion toward them.