Ithaca College Signs Amicus Brief in Support of International Students

On July 10, Ithaca College signed onto an amicus brief in support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s legal complaint against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). On July 6, ICE issued a policy directive that would have prohibited international students from being able to remain in the Unites States if they were enrolled in online-only courses for Fall 2020. Under the guidance, international students enrolled in online-only courses would have had to transfer to a higher education institution that offered hybrid or in-person courses or else would be subject to  deportation

The guidance was rescinded on Tuesday, July 14.  

IC was among the 180 colleges and universities that filed an amicus brief on behalf of the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigrationof which IC President Shirley M. Collado is a founding member.  

The President’s Alliance  amicus  brief argued that higher education institutions and international students would experience significant burdens due to the guidance’s arbitrary prohibition, without notice, to online-only courses for international students, particularly after investing substantial resources in planning their fall 2020 operations. Institutions, the  amicus  argued, relied heavily on the existing Student and Exchange Visitor Program guidance that flexibility would continue “for the duration of the emergency.”  

“We are in a critical moment in higher education around our response to the COVID-19 public health crisis, a situation that necessitates that colleges and universities devise creative and effective ways to best serve our students as scholars and as people,” said Ithaca College President Shirley M. Collado. “The ICE directive was not a political issue — it was a human rights issue. This demanded that colleges and universities stand with one another and unite in a very public way to advocate on behalf of students from all walks of life. It represented a national conversation that Ithaca College needed to join as a private college that serves the public good.”