Last Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued new federal guidelines barring international students from staying in the United States if they attend online-only courses this fall. The guidelines mandate that any international students who are enrolled in online-only courses either transfer to in-person courses or risk “immigration consequences including, but not limited to, the initiation of removal proceedings.”
This policy is not motivated by concern for our students, but rather by political considerations. It is reckless, guileless, and careless. It will endanger the physical safety and well-being of not only our international students but also our domestic students if classes are required to be in-person this fall.
Florida State University has demonstrated throughout this crisis that they are leaders in preserving student, faculty, and staff safety. If this policy is left unchallenged, many of our international students will be forced to discontinue their education at FSU. International students who teach classes, run labs, grade papers, and collaborate with faculty on important research would be eliminated. With the fall schedule already in place, the loss of these students would be an administrative nightmare.
FSU has made a commitment to fostering diversity. To this end, our international students enrich our campus and are an integral part of our community. If FSU wants to maintain their commitment to diversity, they must protect their most vulnerable. Although we cannot define international students by the revenue they bring into the university, we cannot ignore pragmatic concerns. Not only would deporting them be a significant loss to the university, but it would also redefine how the university supports itself financially. Many international students pay full tuition, and their absence would challenge the university to replace that income.
Already dozens of universities and colleges have filed either amicus briefs or lawsuits against these new regulations in an effort to preserve the character of their universities. United Faculty of Florida and the Graduate Assistants Union demands that FSU join them in doing everything it can to initiate or support legal action to protect their international students. It is the moral obligation of this university to challenge DHS/ICE’s xenophobic and cruel policy. We owe this to our students.
United Faculty of Florida/FSU Chapter
Graduate Assistants United/FSU Chapter