More Than 2,500 Sign Petition Urging Penn State Provide In-Person Courses For International Students
Nearly 3,000 people have signed a Change.org petition demanding Penn State provide in-person classes for international students to avoid deportation this fall.
The petition, which listed both Penn State and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf as recipients, follows new federal government regulations on student visas. The guidelines, which were issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Monday, stated international students attending universities offering online-only courses — and those exclusively taking online courses — run the risk of deportation.
However, as long as international students take at least one in-person class this fall, they should be allowed to remain inside the country.
“Going online-only will detrimentally impact thousands of our fellow students,” the petition reads. “Their educational opportunities will be harmed by the challenges of uncertainty and difficulties of access and communication from being back home.”
The petition also noted some international students have already committed to housing and cars for the fall and can’t adjust their plans on a whim.
“The only way to protect our community is to maintain and guarantee that Penn State will remain in the same hybrid model for the remainder of the pandemic,” the petition reads.
Despite clearly opposing ICE’s new policies, Penn State didn’t comment on whether or not it would work with international students and their advisers to ensure they’re taking in-person classes to remain in the country. The university plans to continue determining fall course deliveries over the next few weeks and finalize them by July 15.
“We are deeply concerned about the potential impact of these new regulations on Penn State’s international students, who are a welcome and vital part of our community,” university spokesman Wyatt DuBois said. “Our international students need to rely, like all our students, faculty and staff, on a safe and flexible learning environment that will help make possible the attainment of their educational goals in a safe and healthy manner.”
Although Penn State still plans to return to in-person instruction this fall, the university expressed it’s prepared to revert to remote learning if necessary. Other notable universities, such as Rutgers, Harvard, and USC, have already announced plans to move online this fall.
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The agreement asks students to ultimately accept liability of potentially contracting the coronavirus on campus.
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