President Teresa Amott directly messaged international students on July 8 to reassure them following a decision by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which would impact the ability of students to remain in the United States if schools fully transition to virtual classes.
ICE announced on July 6 its decision to lift its COVID-19 exemption for international students, thereby requiring students on F-1 visas to depart the country if they are attending a school holding only virtual classes this fall.
The decision has already met pushback, with Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology filing a lawsuit in the hopes of stopping the policy from taking effect.
In her email addressed to international students, Amott condemned the policy and stated the school had been in contact with representatives in Congress regarding combating the decision.
“The policy is short-sighted and cruel and utterly contrary to Knox’s values,” Amott wrote.
Amott reiterated Knox’s commitment to holding in person classes this fall, and told international students that even if more classes had to be moved online in response to the virus, some form of in person instruction would remain in place ensure international students could remain in the country.
“Perhaps you have heard me say before that Knox needs you all — your cultures, your perspectives, your contributions to our classrooms, residence halls, and student organizations,” Amott added. “Knox truly is a place where the world can come together, and I am grateful to you for the sacrifices you and your families have made for you to receive an education at Knox.”
The full text of Amott’s message is available here. TKS will continue to report on developments regarding Knox’s handling of the fall term.
Update: On July 14, the federal government announced its withdrawal from its planned requirements for international students to either attend in person classes or return home.
Knox College, which had joined an amicus brief supporting the lawsuit opposing ICE’s earlier decision, released a statement the government’s reversal of its plan. It included a comment from Teresa Amott.
“I am heartened to see that the court has sided with the many colleges and universities across the country who supported their international students in the face of this sudden and unwise ruling. We look forward to welcoming our own international students this fall,” Amott said.
This article was updated on July 14.