UPDATE: As of 7/14/2020, the rule has been rescinded. In-person instruction is no longer required.
Dear Evergreen Community,
Earlier this week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a decision that would require international students on F1 visas to leave the country or transfer to another institution if they do not enrolled in a program that includes in-person instruction. We believe this is a callous, disruptive, and xenophobic decision. We object to its implementation. In the midst of an increase in COVID-19 cases this rule is especially harmful and disheartening. It creates an unnecessary and unjust dilemma for international students, who may be forced to choose between what is in the best interest of their health or their education. The decision also undermines the values of inclusiveness and intercultural exchange that are so important to our learning community and the larger society, especially at a time when such exchanges have been diminished due to travel restrictions during the pandemic.
Evergreen is taking every step to support our students. Fortunately, the college is planning for a hybrid footing, with in-person experiential learning opportunities that will keep health and safety at the center, while also providing engaging remote learning experiences. We are grateful to Michael Clifthorne, Associate Director of International Programs, and his assistant Seel Jang, for their diligent work assisting our international students on F-1 visas. Evergreen will take every step needed under the law to support these students, including documenting each individual international student enrollment in a hybrid course or program that includes at least some in-person instruction and providing ILC’s to those who need to document in-person instruction. International students who have questions and need support should contact Michael Clifthorne (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We are pleased that our Attorney General is supporting Evergreen and other higher education institutions in Washington State by filing a lawsuit in federal court to challenge this misguided, harmful, and unlawful rule. We hope this will be a successful effort to reverse this ruling.
We deeply value the experience, knowledge, and global perspectives our international and immigrant students bring to our undergraduate and graduate programs. We stand with them.
David McAvity, Acting Provost
Therese Saliba, Interim Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and Student Success.