An Important Message from the Associate Provost
Dear UMass International Students,
I am very pleased to be writing to you with some good news.
As Chancellor Subbaswamy noted in his message to the campus community on Tuesday, the Trump Administration has announced that it would revoke last week’s proposed Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidance which tightened restrictions on international students. The Administration’s lawyers also agreed in Federal Court on Tuesday that universities should return to the spring and summer (March) guidance which greatly relaxed rules and requirements concerning remote (online) instruction for continuing international students during the course of the current. Tuesday’s event confirms, most importantly, that as long as you remain enrolled full-time through remote online instruction, whether you are inside the US or overseas, you will be able to maintain your underlying F-1 immigration status. Face-to-face instruction is not required to maintain F-1 status. This existing guidance also implies that being outside of the US for more than 5-months continues to not impact your F-1 status. In practice, this means that the status quo continues and you can proceed with planning for your Fall 2020 semester.
We continue to study the implications of this rescission, especially with regards to new, first-time matriculating international students and we will be in touch with any additional guidance that may be relevant. If you have specific individual questions, please contact your assigned IPO advisor as usual.
Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey said it best when she announced after the court hearing: “This is why we sue. The rule was illegal.” I am fully aware of how chaotic and stressful the last few days, indeed the last few months and years, have been for so many of you in what seems to be a constantly hostile stance from the Trump Administration towards international students and scholars, among other groups of people. I hope though, that as the Chancellor said yesterday, like me, you will all find some solaace in the speed and strength of the response of the US higher education sector. Universities, including UMass, as well as civil society came together with a clarity of purpose to oppose these arbitrary and cruel regulations, and I am proud that we have prevailed. The message from federal authorities notwithstanding, I would like to underscore that at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, each and every one of us is committed to supporting and cherishing our international students and scholars. You ARE always welcome here!
Finally, I would like to note with gratitude the support of UMass Leadership and the work of colleagues and stakeholders throughout the University who have worked tirelessly with IPO in these past few days. In particular, I would like to thank Ken Reade, Director of International Student and Scholar Services and his ISS team who are always on the frontline of supporting, advocating, and fighting for the international community.
With all good wishes for a safe, successful, and healthy start of Fall semester to each and every one of you,
Kalpen Trivedi, Ph.D.
Associate Provost for International Programs