Dear Members of the TC Community,

As many of you have heard by now, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security yesterday announced interim guidelines for American colleges and universities that would prohibit international students from entering or staying in the United States on an F-1 student visa if they’re enrolled in programs that are offering instruction entirely online.

In substance and timing, these new restrictions are draconian, heartless and horrifying. They allow no room for flexibility, no opportunity for public comment, and next to no time for colleges and universities to decide or adjust their plans for going online. Should they go into effect, these rules not only would have a harmful impact on our teaching and research enterprise, but would also inflict terrible pain and suffering on our international students, whether they are already here on valid visas or planning to arrive here for the fall term.

Our international students are a cherished, integral part of our TC community and family, and we are pursuing several courses of action to make certain they remain part of the community.

First, in coordination with our colleagues at Columbia and national organizations, we are aggressively lobbying our Congressional delegation to take measures for rescinding or rolling back the proposed rules, and will keep all of you apprised of new developments.

Second, TC’s Office of Government Relations is holding an online “letter-writing party” where faculty, students, and staff will have the opportunity to advocate on behalf of our international students.

Third, to mitigate the impact of the rules if they do go into effect, we are exploring options for hybrid instruction for on-campus students and synchronous instruction for overseas students.

Right now, across TC and Columbia University and throughout the country, the higher education community has mobilized quickly to repel this inhumane, 11th-hour action against the one million international students who make indispensable contributions to our colleges and universities. Nothing is more important to me, and to all of us, right now, than keeping our communities open and accessible to all of them. We have their backs, and won’t let up until we prevail.

Tom Signature

Thomas Bailey
President, Teachers College