Cal Poly international students must take an in-person class in the fall to remain in the country.
At colleges offering both online and in-person classes fall semester, international students must take at least one in-person class to stay in the country, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Monday.
International students at colleges offering only online classes in the fall must leave the country or be deported, and at colleges offering a regular, in-person class schedule, they can only take one online class with the rest of their classes in-person, ICE wrote in the announcement.
“I understand that the announcement has caused a great deal of anxiety and uncertainty for our students,” President Armstrong wrote in a campus-wide email on Friday. “We stand in steadfast support of our international students and appreciate the deep concern expressed by so many.”
On July 9, the CSU and California Community Colleges joined California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to file a lawsuit challenging ICE’s new policy.
Before the pandemic, international students had to take most of their classes in person. On March 13, ICE exempt international students from this policy, and said exemptions would continue through the end of the pandemic, a press release from the attorney general read.
On June 6; however, ICE changed their decision and required international students to take at least one in-person class, the press release read.
Requiring international students to take in-person classes puts them, their teachers and the surrounding community at risk for getting the virus. In addition, making students travel back to their country of origin could interrupt their degree progress, the press release read.
“Shame on the Trump Administration for risking not only the education opportunities for students who earned the chance to go to college, but now their health and well-being as well,” Becerra said in the press release. “Today’s lawsuit rests on America’s enduring principle that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can earn a chance to get ahead.”
Armstrong wrote in a campus-wide email that Cal Poly supports the lawsuit, but the university has not offered resources to international students since ICE’s announcement on Monday.
Cal Poly is waiting for guidance from the CSU on how to support international students, Armstrong wrote.
Students for Immigraiton Justice started a petition July 8 asking Cal Poly to offer all international students at least one in-person class, and offer in-person independent study courses to international students with health concerns.
In three days, 4,725 people signed the petition.
“Our fellow students have done nothing wrong and should not be punished for the sole fact that they are coming from another country,” the petition states.
In response to ICE’s new policy, mathematics junior Kristina Linn created a spreadsheet of all in-person classes offered at Cal Poly in the fall, which has been shared widely on Instagram.
Cal Poly professors also rallied support for international students.
Cal Poly ethnic studies and women’s, gender and queer studies professor Jane Lehr tweeted on July 7 that she would offer an in-person independent study course to international students facing deportation.
Me too at Cal Poly SLO. https://t.co/fUqIV8iVrY
— Jane Lehr (she, her, hers) (@JaneLehr) July 7, 2020
CHEM 201 and 401 are independent study courses where students conduct research with a faculty member, chemistry professor Ashley McDonald tweeted in response to Lehr.
BIO 200, BIO 300 and BIO 400 are also independent study courses where students research with a faculty member, biological sciences professor Sandra Clement tweeted.