Davidson College Joins Court Battle in Support of International Students
(Editors’ note: As of this afternoon, July 14, the lawsuit written about in this article has been settled, with ICE agreeing to the Alliance’s demands.)
Davidson College is joining with 179 other colleges and universities in asking a federal court in Massachusetts to block a July 6 Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) directive that would strip international college students of their visas if they take all online courses this fall.
The group signed on to a brief filed by the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration. The Alliance’s filing is in support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s federal lawsuit seeking a temporary injunction to halt the new federal directive.
Davidson is a founding member of the Alliance.
“We stand with our students,” said Davidson College President Carol E. Quillen. “This surprise mandate reversed the same agency’s guidance from four months ago and imposed rigid and pressing deadlines when a pandemic requires flexibility and support. Our international students enrich our learning and contribute to our economy and our communities. We shouldn’t be shoving them out the door.”
The amicus—“friend of the court”—brief argues that ICE’s abrupt shift would cause extreme disruption just as schools prepare for the fall semester in the shadow of the pandemic.
“For months, each school has been developing meticulous plans for the 2020 academic year that fulfill each school’s academic mission while protecting the health of students, faculty, and staff during a global pandemic,” the brief reads. “In creating and announcing these plans, institutions relied on ICE’s guidance that it would be flexible with in-person education requirements while the emergency was ongoing. But ICE’s July 6 directive constitutes an about-face that threatens to upend each institution’s carefully crafted plans for the 2020 academic year.”
Quillen helped found the Alliance in 2017 to increase public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact our students, campuses and communities. Davidson recruits students from all backgrounds, because differing perspectives are essential to learning.
Quillen this week emailed international students and reassured them that the college’s plans for the fall semester include offering modes of instruction that range from fully online to face-to-face classes. That gives Davidson flexibility to respond to changing circumstances created by the pandemic and offers almost all students the opportunity for face-to-face classes that would meet the key requirement in the new ICE guidance. She wrote:
“You and your education matter to us.”