GAMBIER, Ohio — Kenyon College, in partnership with the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, joined 179 colleges and universities in an amicus brief filed in support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s legal complaint against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The plaintiffs seek an injunction against new guidance from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that effectively implements a ban on international students enrolled exclusively in online courses as a result of COVID-19. The amicus brief argues that higher education institutions and international students will experience significant burdens due to the guidance’s arbitrary prohibition, without notice, to online-only courses for international students, particularly after investing substantial resources in planning their fall 2020 operations. Institutions, the amicus argues, relied heavily on the existing SEVP guidance that flexibility would continue “for the duration of the emergency.”
The brief and list of 180 total signatories may be accessed here.
“At a moment when colleges and universities are striving to find solutions to serve all of their students effectively in the face of an unprecedented global public health crisis, the guidance from ICE is both callous to the difficult position of international students and indifferent to the need for institutional flexibility at this moment of uncertainty,” Kenyon College President Sean Decatur said.
Decatur added: “We currently are assessing the impact these regulations may have on Kenyon students in the coming year — and we are committed to doing all we can to allow Kenyon students to continue their studies no matter their country of origin. Diversity and inclusion are core principles for Kenyon, and we deeply value the perspectives and contributions of our international community. In such difficult and uncertain times, we regret that international students have the additional burden of unclear or restrictive government policies.”