Weber State online classes 02 (copy)

Weber State University finishes up classes on Thursday, March 12, 2020, before the university suspended courses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Weber State University signed on to an amicus brief Monday that was filed in support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s legal complaint against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

According to The New York Times, Harvard and MIT sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in a Boston federal court on July 8, seeking to block a policy that would take away international students’ visas if they only attended online classes this fall.

Around 300 international students attend Weber State according to a WSU press release issued Monday.

WSU is one of 180 colleges and universities that have signed on to a group known as the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.

The alliance’s executive director, Miriam Feldblum, issued a statement on Friday.

“ICE’s new policy serves only to severely disrupt international students’ educational attainment, and our country is worse off for it. This quasi–international student ban represents another unfortunate assault by the administration against immigrants and higher education — a ban made especially disappointing given (Student Exchange and Visitor Program’s) former guidance that promoted and recognized the need for flexibility amidst a global pandemic. The number of institutions speaking out on behalf of international students demonstrates the breadth of support for international students and the appreciation of the immense contributions they bring to all our campuses,” the statement read.

The University of Utah and Utah State have signed on to the brief, and are the only other Utah higher ed institutions to sign on to the brief with Weber State.

As of Monday, The Associated Press reported that more than 200 universities and colleges have supported the lawsuit in total.

International students typically pay much more in tuition to attend American colleges and universities than their in-state peers.

Weber State’s press release indicated that WSU’s Office of International Programs has been making sure each international student meets the visa requirement and continues to make academic progress during the course scheduling process.

“The new ICE guidance announced on July 6 has added significant uncertainties both for higher education institutions and for international students, in addition to the existing challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic situation,” said Dr. Yimin Wang, senior international officer at Weber State University, in a university press release.

Cases of the virus are increasing and the national emergency is still in effect. We request ICE to allow institutions to continue to operate under the flexible policies previously established so as to enable higher education institutions to best serve our students.”

Numerous colleges and universities across the country have announced plans to move most, if not all, of their classes online in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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