Earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published new guidance that provides modifications to temporary exemptions for international students taking online classes due to the pandemic during the fall 2020 semester. We join our colleagues at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and across the nation, in expressing our significant concern and strong disagreement regarding the new guidance. This misguided and myopic approach to immigration policy, and its blatant disregard for the economic well-being of our country and the protection of our public health, is beyond troublesome—particularly in light of the current global health crisis.
UM-Dearborn, in close collaboration with our colleagues from UM-Ann Arbor and UM-Flint, is working to better understand the impact of the new guidance on our campus and develop a workable response that, we hope, will help ameliorate the impact for our international students.
The university recently announced its plan for the fall 2020 semester, which was developed in response to the best available science and guidance from health and government officials. Taking our unique student population into consideration, and with student success as an overarching principle, the plan was designed to ensure the well-being and safety of the entire UM-Dearborn community while still providing a distinguished Michigan education for all of our students. We believe that UM-Dearborn’s international students should not be arbitrarily and adversely affected because our public-health-informed plan calls for a hybrid approach to the fall 2020 semester.
UM-Dearborn leaders and the Office of International Affairs (OIA) team are committed to keeping our international student community supported and informed, in a timely fashion, regarding how this guidance may impact their education and will continue working with our students as guidelines are clarified. A statement has been posted on the OIA website and a communication was sent to all international students.
As a campus community, we celebrate the contributions that international students bring to our great university. They are an integral part of what makes our campus special, and they will always be welcome here. We join our University of Michigan colleagues, and the growing number of voices in education, business and government, in calling for this policy to be rescinded or substantially altered.
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