July 8, 2020

Dear CSU Community,

Colorado State University leadership and community stand by our international students and oppose the outrageous new directive from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that international students may not remain in the country if they are taking only on-line courses. This is the latest and perhaps cruelest attack on the educational opportunities of our international students. Although we are working hard to make sure that all students have face-to-face learning experiences, to keep our campus healthy, we had planned to pivot to remote learning after Fall Break. Now, however this puts our international students in an untenable situation. Their options are to transfer to another institution that provides in-person or hybrid (both in-person and online) instruction or to return to their home country and run the high risk they will be unable to return to the US and CSU. Students who do not comply face deportation. We cannot stay silent; we must take action.

The ICE Order, which was so sudden, along with the administration’s insistence on schools reopening to full face-to-face operations, leads us to believe that ICE took this action to pressure universities to open fully on-campus and in person. It clearly does not care about any health risks involved. We have been intentional about our plans for restarting on-campus operations with the goal of keeping COVID transmission as low as possible, while offering excellent on-campus and hybrid opportunities. We have done this knowing that an escalation of infection could require us to pivot exclusively to on-line learning as we did in March. Thus, responding ethically and appropriately to escalated transmission likely means harming the status of our international students. We refuse to put our international students in this situation.

We will take whatever action is necessary to oppose the Order and to recalibrate our on-campus education after Fall Break. Harvard and MIT have already filed lawsuits opposing the new Order. We want to be on the record that we support these attempts to block the Order. Furthermore, yesterday on a call with other presidents of state higher education institutions, I committed to working with these colleagues to oppose the Order. As I said, we will not be silent.

I want to make it clear that our international students are ours. We stand by them, advocate for them, and are honored that they chose CSU to pursue their dreams. As a public land-grant university, we are committed to access and inclusion. This unequivocal commitment extends to our international students. We are enriched by their presence and we thank them for being members of our community.