Message to Students, Faculty, and Staff—International Students Update (July 13, 2020)

Good morning,

Since the beginning of last week, when the US government announced guidance that could, if enacted, seriously harm the ability of international students to continue their educations, we have been working to support our students and to block these harmful policies. This is a brief note to bring you up to date at the start of what will likely be an important week in this battle.
As many of you know, Harvard and MIT sued in federal court last Wednesday, seeking a temporary restraining order and injunctions to prevent the government from enforcing these rules, and Bowdoin has joined with others in amicus briefs that support their lawsuit. The federal judge in the case has scheduled a hearing for tomorrow afternoon and has indicated an intention to issue a decision on Wednesday. We have also signed on to an amicus brief in support of a separate suit by the University of California and California State University systems.

Our hope, obviously, is that on Wednesday the judge will grant the relief that stops this rule change from taking effect but, as you would expect, we are also at work on back-up plans. We are still working through the details of the plans, and if Harvard and MIT do not prevail on Wednesday, we expect to learn things from the judge’s decision that could be important in crafting effective ways to support our international students, both those who will be on campus and those who will be at home. I will be back in touch as we learn more about the suit and on our plans should it look like they will be needed. 

There is widespread condemnation in the higher education community for this attempt by the government to upend the lives and aspirations of international students. We will continue to do everything we can to make sure our students at Bowdoin are able to finish what they have worked so hard to achieve without jeopardizing their visa status. 

Thank you,