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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

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SDSU Committed to International Students, Responds to Updated International Student Guidelines

In response to new guidelines restricting the ability of some international students to study in the U.S. due to COVID-19, SDSU’s leadership reinforced support for international students.
By SDSU News Team

On Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released updated guidelines restricting the ability of certain international students to come to or remain in the United States if their higher education courses are held online. 

The announcement was unexpected, and has subsequently resulted in elected officials, school administrators, students, faculty, staff and others across the nation speaking out in opposition to ICE’s revised guidelines related to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP): 
  • Northeastern University is supporting Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a federal lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and ICE. The Presidents' Alliance, of which SDSU President Adela de la Torre is a member, invited its member institutions to join an amicus brief in support of the federal lawsuit. 
  • Congressional members pinned a statement encouraging a reverse in the policy guidance. 
  • California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and California State University (CSU) Chancellor Timothy White announced the State of California is filing a lawsuit challenging the updated guidance. 
“A growing number of organizations and leaders also oppose this decision, including elected officials, presidents and chancellors. It is clear that ICE has made a sudden and ill-conceived decision,” de la Torre said in a campus message shared on July 9, noting that nearly 1,800 international students enroll at SDSU each year. 

“Once again, I appeal to our international students to lean on SDSU during this time and urge you to speak with your undergraduate or graduate program advisors before making any changes to your academic plans,” de la Torre shared. “We are here to guide you every step of the way. Each of you are an important member of our global SDSU community, and we care deeply about you and your success. You bring energy, creativity, and perspectives we need as a university and as a body of global citizens who aim to transform our world for the better.”

Also, in an earlier campus notice, shared on July 7, Cristina Alfaro, Interim Associate Vice President for Global Affairs, and International Student Center Director Noah Hansen encouraged international students not to make any sudden decisions or changes to their academic schedules in response to the updated guidelines. 

Alfaro and Hansen urged students to consult with their program advisors before making any changes and, if in the U.S., encourage them not to make plans to leave the country, unless they are doing so for personal or professional reasons. 

“To our international students, you are part of our SDSU family, and we appreciate the intellectual, personal, and scholarly contributions you make to our campus and to our community,” Alfaro and Hansen shared in the message. 

Both also explained that the SDSU Flex model was designed to ensure that the university is serving “every one of our students, including our international students, whether in-person or online. Our plan allows for more than 200 in-person courses, and we are currently working with the California State University (CSU) system to ensure that each student who has a F-1 visa has access to an in-person course or a course offering that is a combination of in-person and virtual.”