Protecting International Students

Dear Scripps College Community Members,

Many of you are aware that last Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) proposed a policy change that would deny many international students access to U.S. educational colleges and universities should their institutions deliver instruction fully online this fall.  The announcement also indicated that if a campus delivers any courses in person, all international students would be required to take in-person classes or risk the loss of their visa status. This policy change puts all campuses in the terrible position of either providing educational continuity for visa-holding students currently in the U.S. while denying access to courses for those who are abroad; or providing continuity for students through online courses and putting students currently in the U.S. at risk of deportation. Since learning of the ICE announcement, Scripps College has mobilized to support our international students, identify solutions to ensure that all students can continue their studies whether abroad or in the U.S., and challenge this cruel and arbitrary action by the federal government.

As detailed in this press release, Scripps College has joined a lawsuit with more than 20 West Coast colleges and universities seeking to block the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from enacting these changes. We are pursuing this case based on our belief that international students deserve the ability to continue the educational achievements they have worked so hard to attain. Further, we believe that international students should be able to remain enrolled regardless of their institution’s mode of instruction or students’ current location.  The ICE announcement demonstrates a lack of respect for international students and the tremendous value they bring to scholarship, research, and educational communities at Scripps and other institutions of higher education throughout this country. We believe the courts will recognize the many problematic components of this approach and respond favorably to the concerns expressed by Scripps and our higher education peers.

Simultaneously, the College has been proactively seeking solutions that will provide educational options for students who are in the U.S. as well as those abroad to continue their studies.  As we await final regulations from the federal government, the College is exploring options for hybrid and in-person coursework for students currently in the U.S. while maintaining remote options for those outside the country.  This is important to us because, while the majority of our international students have returned to their home countries and are currently residing outside of the U.S., we have a number of international students currently residing in the U.S. We need an approach that allows both groups to continue their education and we are hopeful that the consortium structure we enjoy in Claremont will allow us to explore solutions not available to stand-alone institutions.

We understand that this news has devastated many of our international students, and many in our community are rallying to offer support. The Dean of Students Office has reached out to our international students individually and collectively to provide support and information, and will continue to provide this support, particularly to those students who are most vulnerable. International students are treasured at Scripps and always will be.  These students deserve to continue their education and we are fighting for their ability to do so.


Lara Tiedens