by Mara Bless & Leah Mönkemöller
During the exam phase, we Hopos tackled some of our long-term projects like setting up the VSETH Student Helpdesk and developing a strategy for the newly founded working group on safety (AG Safety), as well as handling pressing issues like reacting to a consultation on the planned change in the Foreign Nationals and Integration Act (AIG).
The Federal Council proposed to change the AIG so that students with master’s degrees and doctoral students from third-countries in areas with a shortage of skilled workers can unbureaucratically remain in Switzerland and pursue gainful employment. To meet this concern, they are to be exempted from the annual maximum numbers for residence permits if their gainful employment is of high scientific or economic interest.
Easier transition to swiss labor market
This was brought to our attention by a fellow student, as this directly affects ETH graduates. On a tight deadline we formulated a response requesting that the Federal Council interprets economic interest in the broadest way possible to include not only STEM subjects but also other subjects taught at ETH (e.g. architecture). This would facilitate a smooth transition into the Swiss labor market for all of our graduates from third-countries. Additionally, we commented on the duration of the provisional residence permit after graduation as well as the possibility of paid internships. Our response, as well as the one of the ETH Board, is now one of the submitted documents that the Federal Council considers in its process.
Help and safety for students
One of our guiding topics are the results of the wiegETHs survey carried out in FS19. The shocking number of students having experienced sexual harassment, suffering from mental health issues or being affected by discrimination in the ETH context, as well as more current testimonials showed the need to address these problems in a long-lasting way. During the last six months we have started two new projects: the AG Safety and the VSETH Student Helpdesk. To involve as many students as possible, a working group was founded that has the aim to make student events at ETH safer. After an initial brainstorming at the last events-team weekend (Projekti-Weekend), different fields of actions with varying feasibilities such as closed and personalised cups at parties as well as establishing a safe word inspired by “Luisa ist hier!” were defined and are ready to be realised by motivated students.
Moreover, on 6 March, the VSETH Student Helpdesk officially started its services (help.vseth. ethz.ch/helpdesk). Many students are not aware of the professional help services at ETH and therefore have a high barrier to ask for help. To lower this barrier, voluntary and trained fellow students are there to listen to you, support you, explain your rights and options and, if you wish, put you in touch with the relevant people for your concerns.
If you want to find out more about the projects mentioned above or become active your- self, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the next university politics round table (4.4. at 7.15 p.m. in Centre, 11.5. at 7 p.m. on Hönggerberg).