July 8, 2020
Dear University of Oregon community,
The federal government’s recent guidance forcing the immediate exit from the United States of international students enrolled entirely in online or remote classes is cruel, unfair, and misguided. This is a reversal of guidance issued at the onset of the pandemic that had created helpful flexibility for international students when universities rapidly adjusted curriculum delivery to respond to COVID-19.
We are all working to ensure safe instructional formats for all students. Yet this new guidance targets one population for sudden exclusion if a university makes decisions for safety to move instruction online. It has no sound justification in health or educational policy. It will cause devastating disruption to the educational and research experience of University of Oregon international students already in the United States, as well as those looking to come to the UO. This shameful announcement is already creating personal stress, uncertainty, and financial harm to members of our university community.
International students are a valued part of the UO, and important to our success as a world-class, global institution of higher education. We are committed to doing everything we can to support international students through this time of uncertainty and are working directly with affected students on how best to continue their education at the UO. We urge the administration to reverse this destructive guidance and instead provide flexibility, fairness, and clarity for international students. The UO is working actively with higher education associations and peer institutions to pursue all avenues to delay or overturn these unnecessarily harsh requirements for international students.
Michael H. Schill
President and Professor of Law
Provost and Senior Vice President