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There are 20 comments on BU Vows to Push for Reversal of New ICE Rule for International Students

  1. The bloviator-in-chief captured headlines (as he intended) by threatening to deport foreign students, but horrific xenophobic policies were already well entrenched. Students who have been admitted will not be able to come to Boston because they are not being allowed to obtain visas.

  2. BU should not put all of its eggs in this baskets; there is no guarantee that these lawsuits will be successful (unless they know something that we don’t). BU thus should develop an alternative plan. Such as 1) not going fully online at any point during the semester, 2) asking ICE to devise a compromise acceptable to all (it might not be perfect, but better than the current SEVP policy)

    Some international students are from countries whose nationals can’t get visa in normal days let alone in these pandemic days. To which, as international students know, we should add the difficulties at airports for getting admitted even with valid visas. That means, if they leave the US, it is very likely majority of them will never be able to return.

  3. Here’s an idea. How about discussing the merit of ideas and policies using techniques like logic, reason, and good arguments, and avoiding the use of name-calling (e.g., xenophobic)? Name-calling is a technique whose only purpose is to end discussion, shut down competing ideas. That’s an especially bad technique on a college campus, where I would hope critical thinking and open debate would be key to learning.

    Good arguments against this new policy were provided. No need for name-calling.

    (Speaking of which, I’m surprised the comment by John Baillieul fell within the BU Today comment guidelines/rules. Would those same personal attacks have been allowed had they been directed towards President Obama?)

    1. Umm, it was not the writer who used these terms, but it IS news that the BU President and Provost used such terms. And John Bailliuel is dead on. Trump is continuing his assault on education and intellectualism.

      1. I didn’t say it was the writer, did I? I was commenting on the content of the article. Yes, it’s particularly disturbing that it was the BU President and Provost doing the name-calling, thus cancelling the debate of ideas.

    2. I agree with BU mom. It is not xenophobic when the policy targets all international students from all colors and backgrounds: both, for example, British and Asian are targeted simultaneously. I don’t think the current administration is afraid of British, German, and Dutch students (xenophobic= xeno [foreign] + phobia [fear]). I belive the mainstream media likes such accusation and that’s why universities using such words, which is wrong. It just makes the other side more aggressive.

      However, there is politics involved. Some trying to keep schools and colleges closed, against all scientific facts, in order to hurt the current administration and to create fear. While almost in all European countries which were hurt more severely by the virus than the US, schools are reopening. The current administrations is using this new policy to force schools to reopen in the fall.

      There are many logical and reasonable bases to argue against this new policy. Just some examples:
      1) the policy says if in the middle of the semester schools go fully online, international students have to leave! However, it does not clarify that what if going fully online is justified because of another deadly outbreak, as it happened in spring!

      2) Not all countries are as free as the Netherlands in which students have full access to technology and high speed internet. Many countries like China, Iran, Russia, among others, even google is banned! There is no high speed internet which is crucial for research and Zoom (even Zoom doesn’t not always work properly with internet connection within the US)

      3) The time difference makes it almost impossible for attending classes online. In some countries classes fall in the middle of night.

      4) Home situation is not always suitable for studying and research.

      5) more importantly, many countries are still struggling to fight the coronavirus. Sending students back to these countries is not wise and endanger their lives.

      A compromise can be made based on logic and common understanding.

      If I were BU, my argument to ICE would be: “Come, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18)

      1. Language matters. Xenophobia is not the same as racist. Although there is often a racial component.
        Our government can be BOTH racist and xenophobic in the actions it chooses.

      2. While I believe you’re making an argument in good faith, I disagree with your characterization of the policy. It is the very definition of “xenophobic” precisely because it targets international students on the sole basis of their foreign origin and citizenship. Whether the administration is more or less afraid of British, German, or Dutch students as compared to students from other countries is immaterial to your point; all will be affected.

        Further, I would challenge your claim that those seeking to keep colleges and universities closed are doing so “against all scientific facts.” What scientific facts, in your mind, support a broad reopening of colleges and universities in the United States? For that matter, how do you support the reasoning that European countries are in a worse position to open their schools, when a quick glance at per-capita case loads and growth rates in the UK, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy shows that in all these countries, the spread of the disease has been much more successfully contained?

      3. I agree with INTERNATIONALE. If you take a closer look at the John Hopkins’ website, you’ll see that the US is the country that failed to control the disease the most. I do believe taking away international students’ visas is “xenophobic”.

    3. Finally a voice of reason! There is no need for name-calling. BU Today staff and BU administrators should choose their words carefully, as their political sympathies are clearly showing through their language. Please do not silence dissenting voices responding to verbal attacks on our democratically elected President.

  4. I would like to correct a factual error. At this time, the University of Southern California has not opted for online courses only. They have moved to primarily remote instruction but are still offering a small number of in person classes. My daughter still has in person classes in her schedule.

  5. BU could get around this by simply creating some 1 credit fluff course in underwater basket weaving or bowling on campus for international students. The reason all these schools are suing is simply because of the potential lost revenue and not for these altruistic reasons like they say. For the most part foreign students pay the full sticker price of tuition to attend BU and many other schools. So these universities present themselves as being righteous and the protectors of foreign students, however the only thing they are truly trying to protect is their bottom line. BU is running a $96 million dollar deficit right now and about to lay off 250+ people do you think they can afford to lose the money from foreign students that may no longer want to pay full tuition to take online classes in their home countries? Follow the money and you’ll see why these universities are fighting so hard to keep foreign students on campus.

    1. While revenue can be part of it, academic progress and prestige is the other. A school that can attract a large number of international students is not only beneficial financially, but also create a diverse and multi-national educational environment for American students. Afterall, if a college education is merely about learning a skill, then 90% of college classes could have been conducted virtually. Foreign students come to contribute knowledge, participate in research, and act as agents for cultural exchange. Furthermore, a school’s ability to attract and retain foreign students is also an indicator of academic rigor and excellence. When foreign students pay full freight to enroll in an American university, they are going to make sure they go to one that is worth their while.
      As a former international student myself and current resident of the US, I am absolutely disappointed by this administration and its scorch earth policies to enforce its xenophobic worldview. The potential brain drain caused is devastating to the future of American academia and innovation. To retain international students, BU might think of ways to work around these restrictions for the time being, including having in person classes for international students only to retain their visa status.

    2. I’ve seen this “1-credit fluff course” idea floating around quite a lot, and while it might end up being an option in some circumstances, there is plenty of reason to doubt that this would be enough to allow BU to get around the new rules. For example, while ICE has yet to issue the final rule and seems to be going back and forth on some of the details, there are indications that they may require schools to certify that international students on visas are taking no more online classes than necessary to complete their degrees, which would then pose problems if some international or domestic students were able to take some or all of their classes on-campus (apart from “underwater basket-weaving”) and some weren’t.

  6. Doubtless I’m missing something, but I thought the sine qua non of a student visa was to enable the student physically to attend classes. Student visas are not a form of immigrant visa. So if the physical classes are (for whatever cancelled), what is the consistent rational for continuing the visa? How does a person who does not intend to attend classes qualify for a student visa?

    I understand that folks of all sort of political persuasion see all sorts of ulterior motives, but why does one even get to such issues? If the predicate for a student visa ceases, why should not the visa also cease?

    1. That reasoning might make some sense under normal circumstances (which is not to say that the current student visa system was in any way sensible to begin with); however, it is completely unrealistic given the present situation. There have been a number of good arguments made above for why it would be better for an international student to remain in the U.S. even while taking classes online, which I won’t repeat here.

      However, to your point that student visas are intended for students to be able to attend physical classes and therefore should be revoked if this possibility no longer exists, I would say that this is only reasonable in a situation where the student and their family can make an informed, long-term plan based around stable information and circumstances. Moving to another country (even temporarily) is a major life change and surrounded by logistical challenges even in the best of times. On that basis, while it might be reasonable to ask a student whether they want to commit to attending classes while spending 4 or more years of their life abroad, the present situation and policy shift creates massive uncertainty and disruption. Consider the following scenarios:

      > An undergraduate student who has spent the past three years living and studying as normal in the U.S. now has to return to their home country when their University declares that they will be moving fully online for the Fall. They don’t know yet if they will be able to return in the Spring. Will they even want to relocate another two times just to complete their final semester in person? Will they be required to in order to finish the degree they’ve already invested three years in?

      > A graduate student is told that they are required to be on campus in the Fall in order to complete a mandatory research component of their degree as part of their University’s hybrid learning approach. With no guaranteed on-campus housing, they sign a lease on an apartment, and purchase what furniture they can afford. Mid-way through the semester, a spike in cases causes the University to suspend on-campus instruction; the student’s visa is now no longer valid and they have to leave the country. How do they get out of their lease, sell their furniture, book an international plane ticket, all while continuing to take classes and manage their now half-completed research project?

      > A University is considering how to manage an outbreak on campus: They can move classes online to try and control the spread, but doing so will result in international students losing their visas. This would be disruptive enough from an institutional perspective as hundreds or thousands of students relocate mid-semester, but the University, like many research institutions, also makes heavy use of its doctoral students and post-docs as TAs, lab leaders, and lecturers. If these international students lose their visa status, the University will no longer be able to employ them and so will lose a significant portion of their instructional staff mid-way through the semester. What happens to the classes of undergraduates, who now not only have to finish their class online, but have to do so without an instructor?

      These contingencies are precisely why the normal rules governing international students taking classes online were suspended last Spring; because the powers-that-be recognized, at least for a time, that extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures if we wanted the work of American colleges and universities to be able to continue.

  7. I saw the CA Attorney General on the news, I think last night. He said there was a letter from March 3, 2020 which indicate this was not the direction that the Federal government was going in. There is, of course, a suit for the California schools. This is just so ridiculous.

  8. No discussion would be complete without noting that the student visa is the second most abused visa after the tourist visa. One of the driving forces for limiting student visas is a history of abuse by “weekend” colleges, individual bad behavior, misuse of the OPT program and poor management by the current and previous administrations. Being admitted to the country to attend classes remotely does raise the question of why one cannot attend remotely from outside the US. From the view of the administration “no classes=no visa” makes bureaucratic sense: reject them all so we don’t need to build a department to keep track.

  9. Please name one Chinese university with 21% population of foreign students.

    Why do you want US universities to admit and accommodate foreign students while other countries are not doing it?

    US taxpayers are indirectly subsidizing that education and we should admit US students (including underprivileged minorities) before we admit foreigners who are sponsored by foreign governments. What is the average salary in Asia? How can those students afford full tuition in BU without the help of their governments?

  10. If BU disagrees with the policy, they should stick to legitimate concerns rather than calling it “xenophobic”. That’s just childish because there is no evidence of that. It makes your argument subject to your bias.

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