Dear Roosevelt Community,
On Monday, July 6, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced changes to student visa exemptions that require students with F-1 and M-1 visas to not take a fully online course load to enter or remain in the United States this fall. In light of the global pandemic, the timing and underlying intent of this policy change is uncaring, ill-conceived, and shows complete disregard for public health and safety.
International students are a crucial part of our University and our nation. Roosevelt was founded on the principles of inclusion and acceptance, and our international students have the same right to continue their Roosevelt education as those with American citizenship. The rule imposes difficult, if not impossible, logistical challenges on international students who may not have access to in-person classes due to the global pandemic, forcing them to transfer to a different institution or leave the United States. If a future coronavirus outbreak necessitates a transition back to fully online classes (as was necessary last March), international students who remain will be immediately in unlawful status. This policy change makes the student choose between their education and personal health and safety.
I have asked our academic and administrative leadership to explore every option that allows international students to maintain their visa status and continue their Roosevelt education with the least amount of disruption. We will be reaching out to each of our F-1 visa students with the information they need as well as evaluating our in-person course offerings for this fall. Every decision we make needs to be in the best interest of the health and well-being of our Roosevelt community.
These changes serve no legitimate purpose. We cannot expect any immediate change at the federal level, but my hope is that the legal action already taken will allow some reprieve to our international student population. Roosevelt remains committed to our international students and will provide the support necessary to assist with the impact of this unjust policy change.
With Warm Regards,
Ali R. Malekzadeh, Ph.D.