WVU issues letter opposing new ICE guidance regarding international students

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University officials issued a letter to the campus community on Friday opposing the new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidance regarding international students who are on F-1 visas.

The letter was issued by WVU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Maryanne Reed and Amber Brugnoli, associate vice president and executive director of the Office of Global Affairs, according to a release from the university.

“For WVU, we’re lucky in the sense that 73% of our fall classes will face-to-face for the fall,” said Director of Global Advancement Henry Oliver. “It isn’t as much as an issue for us, but some still do want to do full online classes because that was available or what made them feel safest. But, at other universities in the country they plan on being fully online, and these students won’t be able to stay in the country.”

University officials said that the new ICE guidance rescinds many of the leniencies that were put into place due to COVID-19 , and most notably, requires that international students who are enrolled in fully online programs for the Fall 2020 semester must leave the U.S. and return to their home countries. The letter explained that in order to stay in the U.S. students must be enrolled in at least one (three-credit) in-person course.

University officials said a major concern about the new ICE guidance is the possible consequences if WVU is requited to go fully online during the semester.

“WVU has an amazing group of advisor who are working so hard right now to make sure each student is taken care of. There are still some restrictions on some countries being able to fly here in general so we are preparing for anything to happen in the next couple of weeks,” said Oliver. “One thing we are doing is making sure each student has two schedules planned, and laid out to be ready for anything to happen, so no student feels forgotten.”

In the letter, university officials said they are determined to do everything within their power to keep their international students.

“WVU vigorously opposes the new regulations from ICE, and we strongly encourage the federal government to adjust its plan and allow international students to remain in the U.S., even those completing a fully online course load,” university officials said in the letter. “Most immediately, we are focused on doing everything within our control to ensure that our international students will be able to continue their education at WVU in Fall 2020.”

To read the letter in its entirety, click here.

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