Supporting International Students

July 8, 2020

Dear Members of the Brandeis Community,

Earlier this week, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) issued unexpected and disheartening guidance that international students would be required to return home if their colleges and universities offered online-only courses this fall.

These guidelines risk public health by pressuring universities to hold additional in-person classes, even in the case of a potential surge in COVID-19 cases, if they want their international students to remain in the U.S. The guidelines also seek to limit the global reach and international character that make our campus — and so many campuses across the U.S. — so vibrant.

In the face of such callous guidelines, Brandeis must act in support of our international students and those across the country. Today, we are joining with a number of other colleges and universities in supporting an effort by Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (PDF) to temporarily prohibit the enforcement of these guidelines. We are also joining with other universities and professional associations to develop additional strategies to support our international students.

We understand how important it is for our students to be able to maintain their status and work toward completing their academic programs. Brandeis University, including its graduate schools, is offering hybrid learning options this fall for its undergraduate and graduate students, which will include in-person teaching. We are committed to finding solutions to redress the ICE guidelines.

Our learning community is enriched by students who come from around the world. This is true in both our regular classrooms and in virtual settings. Brandeis has established careful plans for a safe, effective return to campus for the fall semester. We recognize that we must be flexible in how we move forward based on the uncertainties of COVID-19, and follow the most current public health guidelines. Yet, we also refuse to stand by idly and have our students harmed by capricious and ill-willed policies.