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The parade of flags at Knox College's International Fair celebrates campus diversity


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Knox's Position in Support of International Students Prevails

The parade of flags at Knox College's International Fair celebrates campus diversity

Just days after Knox College joined an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit seeking to block a new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy, the College's position prevailed. On July 14, the federal government withdrew a plan that would have required international students to be enrolled in in-person classes this fall in order to remain in the United States. 

The Trump administration’s decision to rescind the policy was announced today at the start of a hearing in a federal lawsuit filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

President Teresa Amott commented, “I am heartened to see that the court has sided with the many colleges and universities across the country who supported their international students in the face of this sudden and unwise ruling. We look forward to welcoming our own international students this fall.”

In partnership with the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, Knox was among nearly 200 colleges and universities that recently signed onto a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief supporting the legal complaint filed by Harvard and MIT. The complaint sought an injunction against new guidance from ICE that effectively would have implemented a ban on international students enrolled exclusively in online courses as a result of COVID-19. ICE issued the new guidance on July 6.

The amicus brief argued that higher education institutions and international students would experience significant burdens due to the guidance’s arbitrary prohibition, without notice, to online-only courses for international students, particularly after investing substantial resources in planning for fall 2020 operations. The brief also argued that institutions relied heavily on the existing Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance that flexibility concerning international students and online learning would continue “for the duration of the emergency.”

International students “make immense contributions to campuses nationwide,” the amicus brief stated. “These students foster the diversity integral to every student’s education, enhance schools’ intellectual competitiveness, contribute to schools’ athletic and other co-curricular and extracurricular programs, and economically benefit their schools and neighboring communities.”

It added: “The July 6 directive would impose dire consequences—academic, social, and economic, among others—on higher education institutions across the country.”

This story has been updated to reflect the decision to rescind the policy on July 14, 2020.

Photo at top of the page: The parade of flags at Knox College's annual International Fair.

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Printed on Sunday, September 20, 2020