University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs' Dean Dr. John T.S. Keeler released this statement today:
Dear GSPIA Community,
On July 6, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced “modifications” to “temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester.” Our international students were told that they could “not take a full online course load and remain in the United States,” that new incoming students could not receive a visa if enrolled in a school with a fully online program, and that “active students currently in the United States enrolled in such programs must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction.”
I want to make sure you are all aware that, earlier this week, the University of Pittsburgh released the following statement objecting strongly to the ICE announcement: “Yesterday’s federal policy change requiring international students to take in-person classes in the midst of a pandemic to keep their visa status is misguided, harmful to higher education in the United States, and damaging to both regional and national economies. We join our peers in the Association of American Universities in calling on the Administration to reverse this decision and permit international students to continue their educations through whatever means their institutions determine to be safest.” Pitt’s Vice Provost for Global Affairs, Ariel Armony (a GSPIA faculty member), also issued the following statement: “This absurd, draconian federal policy flies in the face of Pitt’s values. We are doing everything we can to help our international students understand the best way for them to be able to continue their Pitt education. Pitt and our international services office stand committed to the health and safety of its community while providing the flexibility to advance its academic mission this fall.”
In addition, yesterday GSPIA Assistant Dean Michael Rizzi sent our students an email noting that the new ICE rules are being challenged in court and may potentially change before the fall, but also stressing that “If you need to change your schedule to remain in compliance with the law, you have plenty of time to do so. Your enrollment counsellor will work with you to change your registration if necessary." Rizzi provided our students with “the (current) list of fall classes broken down by delivery mode” and noted that “this is a preliminary list and we had hoped to wait until it was a bit more final before sharing it. Individual faculty members (and the University as a whole) may still change how these classes are being offered. But this is the most accurate list available as of today.”
Rizzi added, "We support you and we love having you here at GSPIA."