There are 93 Saudi students enrolled at VIU, and with the Saudi government cutting ties with Canada, there is a lot up in the air for them.

Vancouver Island University Dean of International Education, Graham Pike said they are trying to support the students as best they can.

He said there seems to be different criteria Saudi students are expected to abide by, depending upon whether they are self-funded, or government sponsored.

“The government-sponsored students have all been told that they must return home and the date for that, it was the end of August, but it has now been put back to the 22nd of September. So they have to return by that date. For the self-funded students,” he said, “it’s less clear. They’ve been told they don’t need to return but, are kind of, encouraged to return.”

The problem is the result of a tweet by Christia Freeland, our Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, who criticized the Gulf kingdom’s human rights record.

That’s when Saudi officials began cutting ties with Canada, canceling flight service here and recalling their students.