Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis has released a message to the campus community concerning the recently announced Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) policy. The message reads as follows:
Stony Brook University is deeply disturbed by the cruel, harmful, and ill-conceived Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) policy that threatens to prevent international students from studying in the U.S. The policy stands in stark opposition to values that are at the very heart of how we operate and what we stand for: diversity, equity, inclusion, equal access to our world-class education, social mobility opportunities, and the knowledge that our diverse and talented student body is what helps us solve some of society’s biggest challenges.
That’s why we are challenging the SEVP policy on all fronts.
We are urging our Congressional representatives to pressure the White House to rescind its guidance and provide temporary flexibility to allow international students to participate in the range of in-person, online, and hybrid instruction that institutions are implementing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and their local conditions.
We’ve united with our State University of New York (SUNY) counterparts at University of Albany, University at Buffalo, and Binghamton University to send a joint letter to Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Chad Wolf, urging an immediate change of course and new actions to provide international students with the flexibility they need.
We have signed a joint letter developed by the Association of American Universities (AAU) / American Council on Education (ACE) to Congress, amplifying the urgency for flexibility provided in April 2020 to be extended for the 2020-21 academic year.
We are helping students directly affected by the SEVP’s latest guidance to navigate it most effectively through our Office of Visa and Immigration Services (VIS), which is closely tracking developments and keeping international students informed of changing guidelines.
As we advocate for our international students, we are working continuously to uncover all the latest information, clarify incredibly complex and ever-changing policy guidance, and share University-related impacts with you as quickly and consistently as possible. Toward that end, I want to remind you that since Stony Brook University is moving forward with a hybrid model of instruction, the current SEVP policy does allow all F-1 students who are inside the U.S., or those who can return to the U.S. for the fall semester, to remain in the country and continue their studies in F-1 status . And we are gathering further information on how this SEVP guidance specifically impacts our F-1 students who remain abroad for the fall semester.
Please consult the Stony Brook University VIS homepage for information, and particularly the ‘Summer & Fall 2020 COVID-19 FAQs’ page for details as time goes on. We also encourage international students to follow the guidance provided by VIS and contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions related to this immigration policy and how it affects their status.
In closing, please know that Stony Brook University will be there to support and defend the rights of international students during these trying times. And we will continue to keep you up-to-date on our guidance and decisions as well as the actions we take.
Our university is strong because we bring brilliant people together from all over the world to learn, collaborate, and work together. Anything that prevents us from doing that is anathema to our mission and we must boldly call out these transgressions and fight back on behalf of the many thousands of students we serve. That’s what we are doing today and that’s what we will continue to do until these unnecessary and misguided actions have been corrected and this situation has been resolved.