UC President Janet Napolitano and UC Davis administrators have issued statements regarding the announcement Monday (July 6) by the federal government that it would bar nonimmigrant international students from staying in the country during the pandemic if their class schedules consist entirely of online instruction.
For 2020 spring and summer instruction, the government granted temporary exemptions to these students, allowing them to take more online courses than normally permitted.
For fall, though, the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, or SEVP, announced the exemptions would be modified as outlined here.
Napolitano, in her statement issued today (July 7), said: “The University of California recognizes that our country benefits when the world’s brightest students and academics learn, teach and research on our shores. International students provide unique contributions that enrich our campuses, and their perspectives ensure that we continue to be a leading academic force around the world.
“Making it more difficult for international students to study here undermines decades of collaboration between the United States and our international partners, particularly in fields that contribute to America’s economic vitality.”
She said the announcement is “perplexing,” given that some degree of remote instruction is necessary for colleges and universities to protect the safety and well-being of their communities and the public at large, while still allowing students to continue their studies. “Challenges and uncertainty related to COVID-19 are already weighing heavily on students; now is the worst time to burden them further with anxiety,” she said.
Napolitano said UC will assess fully how these changes will affect the campuses and international students. “However, this much is abundantly clear,” she said. “The Trump administration’s latest actions impacting international students jeopardize our nation’s future as a worldwide leader in research and innovation.”
UC Davis Global Affairs’ Joanna Regulska, vice provost and dean, and Wesley Young, director of Services for International Students and Scholars, or SISS, posted a message Monday in which they voiced concern over the new guidance and said they were working with the Office of the President to determine the best way to support international students.
“We will update this announcement as new information becomes available,” Regulska and Young wrote, adding, “Please know UC Davis remains committed to supporting international students and scholars.
“We understand this guidance from Homeland Security creates stress and uncertainty in an already challenging time. If you are an international student affected by this, have questions about these restrictions, or are concerned about your immigration status, please contact your SISS advisor through the staff directory on the SISS website.”