President Mary-Beth Cooper Statement Supporting All International Students

Springfield College joined 180 member colleges and universities in a friend of the court brief in support of the lawsuits filed by Harvard, MIT, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in support of all international students, especially those in the Springfield College community.

Springfield College joined 180 member colleges and universities in a friend of the court brief in support of the lawsuits filed by Harvard, MIT, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in support of all international students, especially those in the Springfield College community.

 

180 Institutions of Higher Education Join Litigation in Opposing Administration’s “International Student Ban”

Dear Springfield College Community,

On July 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at the recommendation of Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP), unveiled guidance requiring that international students register for a certain amount of credit hours in a face-to-face setting in order to retain their visas to study in the United States. This announcement sent ripples of concern throughout our campus community and prompted me to join other college and university presidents in a friend of the court brief in support of the lawsuits filed by Harvard, MIT, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in support of all international students, especially those in the Springfield College community. I unequivocally condemn the guidance as contrary to the aims of education and an affront to the valuable contributions of international students to higher education.

International students are a vital component of intellectual and social life at Springfield College. While we are living in complicated times, guidance such as this contradicts the fact that all students, domestic and international, are welcome on Alden Street. The spirit of the guidance is not welcoming and not in keeping with our Humanics philosophy.   Spirit, Mind and Body in leadership in service to others. And let me remind you, all others.

Our comprehensive planning for our fall semester includes curricular components that meet the current expectations for face-to-face instruction for international students. Those plans also include the co-curricular services and activities that together create the high quality Springfield College educational experience. I heartily support these efforts. Silence is not an option.

Sincerely,

Mary-Beth A. Cooper

Springfield College President

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Dear Springfield College International Students,

Part of the effort to ready campus for the safe return of students at the end of August includes regularly monitoring information and guidelines and policies issued by local, state, and federal agencies. These policies often align with the best interests of our faculty, staff, and students, but not always. On July 6th, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), at the recommendation of Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP), unveiled guidance requiring that international students register for a certain amount of credit hours in a face-to-face setting, or else their visas will be revoked.

This announcement sent ripples of concern throughout our campus community, dispersed though we may be. International students are a vital component of intellectual and social life at Springfield College. While we are living in complicated times, guidance such as this contradicts the fact that all students, domestic and international, are welcome on Alden Street. While our current plans allow for international students to live and study on campus, the spirit of the guidance is not welcoming and is not in keeping with our Humanics philosophy to educate students in Spirit, Mind, and Body for leadership in service to others.

With the measures that we have planned including social distancing guidelines, reconfiguration of classroom spaces, and regular testing for COVID-19, we are confident that our international students will have access to adequate numbers of face-to-face classes to remain in compliance with the terms of their visas. We know that the Springfield College experience goes beyond the classroom and draws upon the many opportunities that are made possible by peer relationships, co-curricular activities, and hands-on-learning. Faculty are working tirelessly to develop synchronous learning opportunities that take advantage of our classrooms and other campus resources and Student Affairs staff are working to ensure that your co-curricular opportunities are robust and meaningful. We want you here!

As this situation evolves, the staff of the International Center will be there to provide you with the information you need in order for a safe and productive fall semester. Even as of this writing, several lawsuits have been filed to challenge the new ICE guidance. On July 10, I joined other college and university presidents in a friend of the court brief in support of the litigation and in support of all international students, especially those in the Springfield College community. Silence is not an option. 

For those of you who are new to our community, welcome. For those of you who are returning to campus, we are glad that you are here.

Sincerely,

Mary-Beth Cooper
Springfield College President