Dear Members of the Campus Community,
As many of you already know, the administration and ICE ruled earlier this week that students holding F1 visas at institutions teaching fully online this year cannot remain in the country, and students with such visas can take no more than 1 online class. This essentially disregards the context of our current health crisis and rolls back measures designed to protect our society. Let me say at the outset that the college is fully aware of this new development, we are outraged that such measures would be taken under the persistently dangerous conditions of the COVID19 pandemic, and we are working with the university to devise a way to both preserve the safety or our entire student body and the ability of our F1 visa students to remain in NY while they study at CCNY.
I honestly don’t know precisely what the main objective of the new ICE ruling must be. The ruling may be intended to force colleges to fully open, risking the health of their student population, or sacrifice the tuition revenue that international students bring to colleges. That, at least would serve the administration’s goal of forcing us all to pretend that the danger is past, or that economic recovery should outweigh our efforts to preserve public health. Alternately this could simply be another plank in the administration’s xenophobic and nativist agenda. Creating broadly unsafe conditions on college campuses for international students would surely drive more of them from our country and to their places of origin.
It hardly matters. We will diligently make every effort to prevent our students from being harmed by this ruling. As many of you know, several lawsuits opposing this measure are working their way through the courts. As they do, we will be trying to figure our best options. But we are aware of the danger and are responding to it.
If you hold an F1 visa please make sure to regularly check your CCNY email account, because we may well need to communicate with you directly on measures designed to help maintain your safety and relationship with the college. And, if you hold an F1 visa, hang in there. You’re important to our community and to the college, and we won’t rest until we’ve figured out a better way forward.