July 14 Message to Campus: Agreement Reached for International Students and Online Courses

To the Case Western Reserve Community:

I am overjoyed to share that the federal government today agreed to rescind the July 6 guidance indicating that international students taking only online courses would imperil their visa status.

Instead, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency will return to the nationwide guidance issued March 9, which exempted international students in this country from the requirement that they take at least some of their classes in person “for the duration of the emergency” that is the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement also rescinds the FAQs issued the following day (July 7), and stops any attempts to enforce the July 6 guidance.

The news of this reversal came this afternoon in Boston, where U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs had been scheduled to hold a hearing on a complaint that attorneys for Harvard and MIT filed last week seeking to block the new guidance. Instead she announced that the universities and federal government had reached this new agreement.

Today’s news was particularly surprising, given that the federal government on Monday filed a 23-page motion opposing Harvard and MIT.

As I wrote last week, Case Western Reserve had joined several other leading universities in filing an amicus brief in support of the position of Harvard and MIT. As of yesterday, more than 200 universities had joined in various briefs opposing the new guidance, and seven additional suits had been filed, including one from more than a dozen state attorneys general.

International Student Services will provide international students additional information within the next few days.

I want to thank everyone at Case Western Reserve involved in providing information for our amicus brief and in offering support to our international students during this exceptionally difficult time. I also want to thank our international students for choosing our university and continuing to participate as fully as possible in their educational experiences and broader campus life. Each of you is an essential and valued member of our community, no matter where you may be physically at this time.

Again, I am honored to say: #YouAreWelcomeHereCWRU.

Barbara R. Snyder