Local colleges respond to new international student restrictions

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 6:16 AM EDT
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Some Vermont colleges are speaking out against new restrictions that target international students studying in the U.S.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement notified colleges Monday that international students will be forced to leave the U.S. or transfer if their schools operate entirely online this fall.

University of Vermont President Suresh Garimella Tuesday said that while he did not agree with the policy, he did not think it would cause problems at UVM.

"While we've offered an online remote, stay-at-home option, we will be open, so we hope there will be no effect to our students," he said.

Garimella said he believes in the power of immigration and great value of international students to the economy and school.

Middlebury College is also responding. While not all of Middlebury is going remote, the school's graduate institution will be. Jeffrey Dayton-Johnson, who heads up the Middlebury Institute in Monterey, California, says this visa decision is "at odds with the values and the global character of our institution."

He says they are sorting out how to best help their international students. In the meantime, he asks for patience and encourages international students to reach out to the office of student services for guidance.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Trump policy.

“It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and other,” Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said in a statement Wednesday. “This comes at a time when the United States has been setting daily records for the number of new infections, with more than 300,000 new cases reported since July 1.”