EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon State University and University of Oregon are joining 18 other universities filing a federal lawsuit to keep restrictions on international students at bay.
The suit seeking a temporary restraining order was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Eugene, OSU said in a statement.
Nearly 3,500 students at OSU could be impacted by planned rule changes that would threaten students with deportation if they are taking online-only classes.
Typically, international students can take up to one course or three credit hours online per term. During the coronavirus pandemic, a change had been enacted to protect international students learning remotely as universities moved away from in-person classes.
Moving forward, many universities will continue to offer remote-only or reduced in-person classes as the virus continues to spread. And that could be a problem for international students under the rule change that’s expected.
The lawsuit says the proposed order would force thousands of international students to leave the country before fall term classes begin or transfer to a school that offers in-person instruction.
“OSU fully supports its international students in completing their education,” OSU President F. King Alexander said. “If enacted, the federal order will force students to return to their home countries during a global pandemic and to relocate to their home countries – many of which have unstable political and public health conditions. Meanwhile, some students no longer have homes in those countries."
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement released guidance on July 6 about the planned change. The order also requires universities and colleges to comply with a July 15 deadline to submit a plan to reopen with on-site instruction in fall or a hybrid plan.
OSU said in the statement that they plan to open with a mix of on-site, remote and online instruction.
“The timing of the guidance is particularly harmful for our international students and OSU,” Alexander said. “In the midst of the pandemic, the university has invested substantially in planning for fall term classes and operations, and our international students have engaged significantly in planning for their 2020-21 education.”
The following universities have joined the coalition: University of Southern California, Arizona State University, California Institute of Technology, Chapman University, Claremont McKenna College, Northern Arizona University, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Santa Clara University, Scripps College, Seattle University, Stanford University, St. Mary’s College of California, the University of Arizona, University of the Pacific, University of San Diego, University of San Francisco and the University of Utah.