A Message From the President: Immigration and Customs Enforcement Guidance

Dear all, 

As our country faces the twin burdens of escalating COVID-19 cases and the long-overdue reckoning with systemic racial injustice, I am appalled and confounded by yesterday’s guidance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recommending the expulsion of international students enrolled in online-only courses for Fall 2020. The guidelines, which threaten the interruption and limiting of international students’ access to higher education in the US, are cruel and unnecessary. We at Vassar welcome students from around the globe, who have for more than a century contributed to the vibrancy and excellence of the Vassar community.

How does the guidance affect international students enrolled as Vassar students? Because we are teaching a blended program of in-person and remote learning, we understand that our international students who are in the US will be able to stay enrolled and participate fully. We are working toward solutions that will make this possible for our international students living internationally as well. We remain committed to serving all our international students, who are integral and deeply valued members of this community.

International students who are in other colleges and universities offering “remote only” learning will face more challenges unless this guidance is changed. We stand in solidarity with these colleges and universities as we seek to have this guidance overturned. As leadership of colleges and universities throughout the world work to provide the highest quality higher education in the safest circumstances, this oppressive new edict has no place in higher education. It will have a lasting, devastating impact on students and their families. Any loss of international students will have a negative impact on the entire student body. And it will have far-reaching repercussions on our global standing as a nation. We condemn this action, and we urge immediate repeal of these untenable guidelines immediately.

During this time of increased polarization and divisiveness, let us do whatever we can to remember to reach out to our community, to treat each other with kindness, and to have faith that a better future lies ahead.

Take care,

Elizabeth H. Bradley, President

Poughkeepsie, NY 12604