The College of Humanities Supports International Students

July 8th, 2020

Dear College of Humanities Students, Staff, and Faculty,


The College of Humanities stands with our international students in vehement opposition to the newly announced US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy that would force visa holders who are taking only online classes to leave the country. Such a change would cause irreparable harm to numerous individuals and would undermine the research, teaching, and service interests of the College and the University. International students strengthen our academic programs, enrich our experience of the global in the local, and are vital to the College’s long-standing commitment to supporting and sustaining the multicultural, multilingual community that grounds our research, teaching, service, and outreach.


To all of our international students, I assure you that we will offer whatever support is possible for you to continue your educational journey with us in the Fall. Like many faculty and staff members across campus, I came to the United States on an F-1 (student) visa and know what it is like to be an international student. This life experience is what allows me to know without a doubt that your presence makes our college more diverse, more rigorous, and illuminates the human condition more than would otherwise be possible. Simply put: the contribution of your presence makes the College and the campus a richer scholarly community for everyone.


The reason for this is clear: languages and cultures—the subjects and arts at the heart of the humanities—are what make it possible for people to collaborate and grow, intellectually, emotionally, and experientially. This is especially true in the exchange of ideas and experiences across borders (of any type). Teaching and learning how to fearlessly traverse those borders is precisely what the College of Humanities is meant to do, and doing so has the added benefit that—when engaged fully—it necessarily advances the just, equal, and dignified treatment of all.


As you probably know, our faculty and staff have been tireless in their efforts to prepare for a Fall Semester that offers multiple teaching modes (including in-person) with considerations for your safety and well-being as a high priority. Rest assured that we will continue to work with the Provost’s Office to ensure the proper availability of courses to meet all of our students’ needs, including those who might be affected by this latest ICE policy. We are also mindful that some of our international students may have a personal situation that requires them to minimize the risk of pursuing learning in-person, and we will keep this in mind as we advocate for a humane response to the situation before us.


Yesterday, Provost Liesl Folks emailed all faculty that her office is “working swiftly to ensure that we will have at least some in-person options available for all undergraduate and graduate international students in the U.S. on the affected visas that will comply with SEVP requirements, so that they may remain in country to complete their academic plans.” The UA’s International Student Services Office will be hosting multiple question and answer sessions on this topic on Wednesday, July 15. Registration is available on the ISS Programs and Events page.


Please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions or concerns.


In solidarity,
Dean Alain-Philippe Durand