Published July 8, 2020
Earlier this week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced changes to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program requiring international students enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities that are transitioning to online-only courses this fall to leave the country or risk violating their visa status.
As the University at Buffalo is adopting a hybrid model of education this fall, we expect to limit the negative impact of the new rule on our 5,500 enrolled and incoming international students at UB. However, the regulation runs contrary to our longstanding commitment to inclusion and equity in higher education, and we are deeply dismayed and troubled by this policy change.
UB is, and always has been, an international institution. From our founding in 1846, our university community has been immeasurably enriched by students from around the world. Our international students’ diversity of background, perspective and lived experience greatly enhances UB’s research, education and engagement mission.
Further, as an international university, we at UB believe that all international students in U.S. colleges and universities should have the opportunity to pursue their educational goals and professional aspirations unimpeded. To that end, we are actively working with our elected officials to both reaffirm the vital role of international students in our broader higher education landscape, and to help change the federal government’s stance on this critical issue.
At UB, our international students benefit all of us. We value their contributions to the diversity of our community, our global learning opportunities and our cultural and intellectual life. As UB president, I offer my unqualified support for our international students and promise that we will continue to work on their behalf to foster a community where all international students feel welcome and valued for their many and meaningful contributions to our university mission.