Support for our International Students and Scholars

July 8, 2020
Dear members of the FAS community,
Shortly after Monday’s announcement about our plans for the fall semester, we learned that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new regulations that imperil the lives and academic progress of our international students and scholars. These new guidelines directly undermine the careful planning and approach we have taken for fall, specifically our plans to deliver all graduate and undergraduate instruction online. This plan was put forth to reconcile the health and safety needs of our community and the vitality of our academic mission, including accounting for the needs of our diverse, global community of students and scholars who face a host of limitations and complications brought about by the pandemic. This reckless reversal by ICE hurts our students and it hurts us as an institution. The FAS is an international community and that is a source of pride and inspiration. That we bring together the voices and perspectives of some of the brightest minds from across the world is fundamental to our intellectual strength and ambitions and must be protected.
While there is still much we don’t know, we are working quickly to respond to the needs of our international students and scholars impacted by this news. To that end, early this morning, President Bacow announced that Harvard, together with MIT, has filed pleadings in the US District Court in Boston to seek a temporary restraining order against the enforcement of this order. In doing so, we continue to be guided by our core principles to protect our academic enterprise and preserve access and affordability for all our students. The new ICE order is a direct threat to that institutional imperative. But we are committed to doing all we can to enable our students and scholars to continue their studies without further disruption to their lives and academic progress in an already uncertain and challenging time.
Many of you have reached out to express your concern about these new regulations and what they will mean for our students. I share your deep distress over this new order, and I assure you that the FAS and the University are working tirelessly to fight on behalf of our international students and scholars. We will explore all avenues and exhaust all options to chart a path forward that protects their place as valued members of the FAS community.