EUGENE, Ore. – The University of Oregon is fighting new proposed rules from the Trump administration to help keep international students in class. And Oregon State University said they are also standing by their international students.
An announcement July 6 indicates federal rules adopted in March 2020 to allow international students to enroll in online-only classes will be thrown out. Since spring, many universities have gone to online-only instruction as a response to the pandemic.
A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement says that international students will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities offer online-only instruction.
UO Dean and Vice Provost Dennis Galvan said in a statement that this places a burden on international students who are already “experiencing extraordinary stress” due to the pandemic and recent conflict over racial justice.
“Thank you in advance for any extra care and compassion you can provide to UO international students who may be struggling to make sense of how they can complete their studies,” Galvan wrote.
Galvan said they are working with the university’s government relations department to fight the new rules in coordination with major higher-education associations.
“The UO is steadfast in its commitment to welcoming international students, and holds firm to the core belief that international students are vital to our success in research, teaching, and building diverse and inclusive communities,” Galvan wrote.
To read UO’s full statement, click here.
Chloe Li is heading into her Junior year at UO, studying Economics, and she said she was told if she even only takes one in-person class she will be fine, but even that is worrisome.
"I'm super worried right now," said Li. "Recently the University of Oregon has gotten some cases of coronavirus in this time. It's increasing, not going down. So I'm super worried if the classroom is a super limited area, like if one person gets coronavirus the whole classroom has to take the test."
At OSU, 3,500 students are international, said Vice President of University Relations and Marketing Steve Clark. That amounts to 11 percent of the student population.
Clark said they are waiting for rules because there aren't any yet officially.
"Why did we go to remote instruction?" asked Clark before answering his own question. "It was to provide for public health safety. It wasn't an avoidance of immigration laws. So we are hoping that the federal government understands that in a pandemic it is essential to be flexible as we have been since March."
He also said remote learning is not online learning. They have an entire online learning program with more than 100 programs. Remote learning is what took the place of in-person classes in March due to the pandemic.
OSU is working with international students and families to keep them here. He said they aren't just vital to campus but to the state.
For more information about the proposed rules, click here.