By Danny Priest
This past Saturday (July 11), Springfield College students received an email from President Mary-Beth Cooper in response to the recent actions taken by the U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
ICE announced that foreign students attending colleges who plan to go with fully online learning this coming fall must leave the United States. Additionally, students attending schools who have not yet decided the choice of learning style for the fall face the reality of either being driven out of the country or transferring to a school where they can attend classes in person.
Cooper and her leadership team responded swiftly to this decision with the following response that was emailed to the campus community:
On July 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at the recommendation of Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP), unveiled guidance requiring that international students register for a certain amount of credit hours in a face-to-face setting in order to retain their visas to study in the United States. This announcement sent ripples of concern throughout our campus community and prompted me to join other college and university presidents in a friend of the court brief in support of the lawsuits filed by Harvard, MIT, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in support of all international students, especially those in the Springfield College community. I unequivocally condemn the guidance as contrary to the aims of education and an affront to the valuable contributions of international students to higher education.
International students are a vital component of intellectual and social life at Springfield College. While we are living in complicated times, guidance such as this contradicts the fact that all students, domestic and international, are welcome on Alden Street. The spirit of the guidance is not welcoming and not in keeping with our Humanics philosophy. Spirit, Mind and Body in leadership in service to others. And let me remind you, all others.
Our comprehensive planning for our fall semester includes curricular components that meet the current expectations for face-to-face instruction for international students. Those plans also include the co-curricular services and activities that together create the high-quality Springfield College educational experience. I heartily support these efforts. Silence is not an option.
Springfield College has declared their intention to hold in-person learning this fall if it is able to occur based on the status of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Should more updates to this situation become available, this story will be updated.