Dear Union Community,
By now, most of you are aware that on Monday, July 6, the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (“ICE”) issued a directive that would deny visas to incoming international students, and require all international students in-country to leave the US, if they are enrolled in an higher education institution that is offering “fully online” course offerings. A link to this ICE directive is: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/sevis/pdf/bcm2007-01.pdf. At this point, it is unclear how ICE may interpret the terms “fully online” or learning “remotely,” but what is clear is that that “hybrid” campuses, defined as those institutions “offering a mixture of online and in-person classes,” do not similarly impact international students.
Because Union continues to have an active on-campus life – students and faculty both live on campus – and because our teaching model is “flexible” with respect to in-person teaching, including some courses that will have in-person learning components, we are officially categorized as “hybrid.” The ICE directive provided that students at hybrid schools such as Union are allowed to take classes online and come to or remain in the US, as long as their course load is not “fully online.” Therefore, we believe that the ability of Union’s international students to come to or remain in the US will not be impacted by this directive. Our curriculum is such that you will be able to meet all given criteria.
That said, please know that we are actively pursuing every available avenue, along with many other institutions, to stop this draconian, heinous order. As you may have read, on July 8 a lawsuit was filed in federal court in Massachusetts, requesting among other things a court injunction preventing ICE from enforcing the directive. The Court’s ruling will likely apply to all international students attending US universities, and we will keep you updated as the situation evolves.\
Let me be clear about Union’s position on the ICE Directive. This directive goes against every value for which Union stands, values aspired to by the whole community: justice, truth, goodness, inclusion, hospitality, wisdom, openness, planetary flourishing, diversity, well-being, and more. In contrast to these values, the directive is cruel and morally abhorrent. I especially want all international students to know that we are all in this with you, standing by your side and working as hard as we can to assure you will continue to learn and flourish at Union. I know these times are terrifying for you, but we as faculty and administration are here for you. Each of you is an essential, beloved part of the Union community, yesterday, today and always.
With a determined spirit,