Dear International Students and Families and the Entire CMC Community:
I write to express my strongest commitment to address effectively the many challenges raised by the unexpected U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) guidelines announced earlier this week. To our international students and families, we know that this has magnified uncertainty, confusion, and stress for all of you. We are here to support you individually and collectively, as we aggressively seek solutions.
As you well know, the guidelines (i) allow international students to remain in the U.S. only if they are attending a college that offers some in-person classes (a “hybrid program”) and (ii) permit international students not in the U.S. to enroll only in colleges that offer exclusively online instruction (an “online program”). Under these rules, students attending purely online programs will have to leave the U.S., and students not able to get back to the U.S. who attend hybrid colleges will not be able to continue their education without facing complications to their immigration status.
As onerous is the timing. On July 15, institutions have to certify whether they are fully online. As we communicated on July 1, CMC plans to reopen a hybrid program in the fall; however, this is contingent on our own health and safety assessment and public health approvals at both the State and County levels to reestablish residential life and in-class instruction. We set a deadline of July 24 as the latest date we could wait for these approvals. This forces us to resolve the situation for international students quickly under conditions of uncertainty.
This puts both our students and the College in an untenable position.
Yet, we want to assure you that we are committed to taking a full range of actions in response.
First, advocacy. We will do all we can to influence those responsible for this policy to recognize and redress its irrational provisions and prevent its irreparable consequences.
Second, litigation. We are evaluating potential litigation options in coordination with our higher education peers to enjoin the policy and its implementation. Through the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, the College has also registered to join an amicus brief in support of Harvard and MIT’s suit challenging the ICE SEVP rules.
Third, problem-solving. We are working on a number of strategies to meet the needs of all of our international students: both those who wish to remain in the U.S. this year to continue their education and have strong interest (under these rules) in attending a hybrid program, and those who cannot get back to the U.S. in time to take up residence in Claremont and have a strong interest (under these rules) in attending an online program.
Fourth, timing. We will not know by July 15 whether we can realize and implement our plan to return to campus (CMC Returns); however, we hope to have in place a set of alternative strategies for each of our international students, regardless of circumstances and regulations outside our control, to be able to continue with their education in effective ways this coming year.
Finally, communication. Building on the two Zoom forums with our international students, the Dean of Students Office, and the director of International Place this past week, we will stay in close contact on these developments and schedule additional forums for students and families in the upcoming days.
Please stay in touch. Be well. And many thanks in advance for your mutual support.