July 13, 2020
From: President S. Georgia Nugent
Illinois Wesleyan University strongly opposes the recent directive from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which would bar international students from retaining their F-1 visas to study in the U.S. if they enroll in exclusively online courses this fall and which would remove students taking full-time online classes in their home country from active status in the government’s Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
Such undue restrictions against international students are abhorrent to us as a community of higher learning. We value scholars of all backgrounds and nationalities as important members of our academic environment, where we seek to prepare all students to become thoughtful, participatory members of a global society.
Our fall planning work groups have been taking thoughtful steps toward a safe return to campus for all students this fall, with options for a mix of in-person, hybrid and online courses. With the health and safety of our campus community as our top priority, we're also prepared to make adjustments if necessitated by changing public health guidelines.
We are taking additional steps to ensure that our international students can remain on campus, and to stand against this ICE action:
Our International Office reached out immediately to our international students to provide an update on our plans and assurance that they are welcome and valuable members of our learning community. We will continue to monitor the situation and unequivocally advocate for international students against this thoughtless change in policy.