July 9, 2020
Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,
Today, the College issued the following statement affirming our commitment and support for our international students, in response to new operational guidance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
We have been in contact with affected students in the last several days to offer support and to answer questions. Should you have questions about support or resources available, I encourage you to reach out to Dean Carmela Patton.
I want to thank everyone for their continued support of our international students during this pandemic and beyond. It means a lot.
Statement by Connecticut College on recent guidance issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
On July 6, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced pending regulation that would compromise the visa status for international students attending colleges that offered only online instruction in the fall. The guidance represents an incomprehensible reversal of the position established by ICE just a few months ago, and appears, to quote from a recently filed lawsuit, “as cruel as it is capricious.” Connecticut College opposes both the letter and the spirit of the proposed regulation.
Our international students are highly valued members of our community. They bring unique linguistic, cultural, and geographic perspectives. They are prominent scholars and campus leaders. They contribute actively to the New London community. The mission of Connecticut College is to educate students to put the liberal arts into action as citizens of a global society. We cannot begin to fulfill that mission without the vibrant presence of our international students.
To promote the health and safety of our entire community, the Connecticut College faculty adopted a curriculum for the fall that represents a mix of in-person and remote teaching, and as such, our international students may be less affected by the proposed regulation. We are nonetheless acutely aware of the pain, confusion, and fear the new guidance has caused—at a time when we continue to deal with the harmful effects of a global pandemic.
We therefore call on ICE to revise its guidance and to allow international students to return to or remain in the United States in order to advance their coursework in whatever modality it may be offered.
We have been and will continue to be in communication with our NESCAC colleagues and with those at other colleges and universities about our collective efforts to assist our students. As a member of the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, we are also monitoring developments in Washington, D.C., and will be reaching out to the American Council on Education and other higher education organizations to keep apprised of opportunities to have input with legislators around this issue.
In short, our faculty, staff, and senior administration are committed to doing everything we can to support our students and to preserve the integrity of our international community.