We at Kalamazoo College join with other higher education institutions to voice our opposition to guidance announced on July 6 by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).
At a time when we are facing a continued rise in COVID-19 cases around the country, colleges and universities require flexibility to adapt the delivery of curricula to keep our communities safe, and this flexibility should not come at a cost to our international students. International students have been an important and valued part of the Kalamazoo College community throughout its history, and this change in federal policy in the middle of a global health crisis shows a devastating lack of compassion and regard for our students.
The Center for International Programs (CIP) and Provost’s Office are strategizing about the best ways to support our F-1 visa holders given the recent directives. We are committed to creating an environment on campus that will allow them to study and remain in the U.S. for fall quarter and beyond.
Everyone at the College is committed to supporting our international students during this current situation and advocating on their behalf through as many channels as possible. I have already reached out directly to our congressional representative, Fred Upton, to express my dismay with the announcement and the need to extend the exceptions that were granted for the spring and summer, so that our international students can continue to study and learn at K, regardless of where they are living now and through the fall term. I encourage the K community to reach out to their elected officials, as well.
CIP will be communicating with students impacted by this decision and will be working with these students directly over the next weeks. While we are disappointed at the shortsightedness of this recent announcement, we will continue to engage in the world around us by providing a rich academic environment for students to thrive, no matter where they may call home.
Jorge G. Gonzalez