Dear Members of the TC Community,
Earlier this week, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency announced, with no advance warning, new guidelines that would force international students already in the United States on F-1 student visas to return home if they’re enrolled in programs that are offering instruction entirely online.
This action has been distressing to all of us, our international students and their families most of all. But we are fighting to prevent these guidelines from going into effect, and our teams are working virtually around the clock to support and protect our international students so they can begin or continue with their studies freely and safely. We would like to review the strategies and solutions we are pursuing now, and suggest ways that everyone can help.
For our international students
You have a right to be here, we’re a stronger, better teaching and research institution because you’re here, and we’re determined to keep you here.
To that end, we’re working closely with professional organizations, peer institutions, and of course, Columbia University to get the ICE policy reversed. We’re actively lobbying Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Representative Nadler to enlist Congress in our fight. Columbia is submitting an amicus brief in support of the lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT to have the ICE guidelines declared unlawful.
We are making progress toward finding workable solutions. Specifically, we are developing both hybrid learning options that will incorporate in-person teaching, and synchronous and asynchronous options for overseas students. We will be back in touch next week with further updates, and ask that you please wait for subsequent communications before you make any decisions that will be irreversible. Should circumstances next week make it necessary, we will communicate a process by which you can still submit requests for deferred enrollment if the College is unable to design a program that meets your needs.
In the meantime, we invite you to direct your questions and concerns to the Office of International Students and Scholars at email@example.com, or 212.678.3939.
For faculty and staff: How you can help
We all recognize how much is at stake in this crisis, and we all want to do right by our students. Fortunately, there are several ways to offer meaningful, valuable support.
One: You can join more than 100 of your colleagues who already have advocated directly on behalf of our international students by writing their U.S. Senators and Representatives to register their strong opposition to the ICE guidelines. Our Office of Government Relations has furnished templates for letters, which include a link to your federal and state elected representatives.
Two: You can use your social media accounts to post expressions of solidarity and support for international students, and are certainly more than welcome to repost this message there!
Three: You can reach out to your international students, who are understandably worried. Remind and reassure them that they should not feel pressured to change their enrollment, travel, and living plans right now. As we mentioned above, we are making rapid progress toward developing workable solutions, and would urge our students to hang in there for a little while longer. If they have any questions in the meantime, please urge them to contact the Office of International Students and Scholars at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 212.678.3939.
We want to reaffirm, in the strongest possible terms, our support for our international students and our determination to make it possible for them to start and continue their journey with Teachers College. In preparing for any contingency, we will not compromise either the safety and well-being of any member of our community, or the superior quality of our academic programming. We will not compromise our core principles, including our pursuit of social justice. And we will spare no effort to fight ICE’s harmful and capricious guidelines.
Stephanie J. Rowley
Provost, Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs