Dear Depauw Faculty, Staff and Students,
DePauw joins universities and organizations throughout the country, including the Association of American Universities, the American Council on Education and other higher education associations in denouncing new guidance for the Student Exchange and Visitor Program issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Monday. Essentially, the guidance forces international students to return to their home country if they need or choose to learn remotely or if their institutions begin fall term with in-person or hybrid classes but must switch during the term to solely remote classes due to the pandemic.
This measure would apply regardless of any travel restrictions or difficult extenuating or individual circumstances, without regard to health and safety risks.
At DePauw, we believe every student should have an equal opportunity to make progress toward their degree without impediment. We remain extremely confident that the delivery methods employed by our faculty will continue to provide the high-quality teaching and learning methods grounded in our academic mission. All students who have earned the right to attend DePauw are bright and talented and worked very hard to get here; international students who chose to pursue their aspirations here have had to overcome even more obstacles. International students enrich our community by providing diverse world views that improve the global learning and leadership capability for all. We are grateful for the insight and perspective they bring to our campus, our state and our country.
The ruling’s complexity and lack of clarity require careful consideration and time to analyze potential options, but we are continuing to communicate individually and collectively with our international students. To date, we have hosted live, virtual information sessions, and will offer more if necessary. We also are offering individual consultations with staff in our Justin and Darrianne Christian Center for Diversity and Inclusion and seeking expert external counsel to help us support our international students to the fullest extent possible.
On a more personal note, I am dismayed and concerned about the additional anxiety caused by this unwarranted and mean-spirited ruling, which is contrary to our institutional values and comes at a time that already is extraordinarily difficult for all of us. In partnership with presidents and peers in our Great Lakes Colleges Association, which will issue a statement later today, I will continue to work with education leaders and organizations to lobby Congress to reverse this ruling.
I am grateful to many Tigers, on campus and beyond, who have reached out to offer ideas and support, and I urge you to contact your representatives in Congress to make them aware of the undue harm this ruling will cause to DePauw, other state institutions, our state and our nation.
Lori S. White