Dartmouth Joins Opposition to International Student Rules

News subtitle


The rules would prohibit international students from staying at universities offering only online classes.

Photo by Eli Burakian ’00

Editor’s note: On July 12, 2020, Dartmouth joined with 58 other institutions of higher education to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts supporting Harvard and MIT’s legal challenge to the implementation of the July 6 Immigration and Customs Enforcement/ Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program guidance. 

Dartmouth has joined peer institutions in opposing new federal guidance—issued Monday by the Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)—that prohibits international students from staying at universities that are offering only online classes. The guidance directs the students to transfer to a school offering in-person courses or leave the United States.

“We remain firm in our belief that Dartmouth can realize its full potential only if it welcomes the most talented students, faculty, and scholars, regardless of their nation of origin. Any action inhibiting the free exchange of talent and ideas limits our ability to advance Dartmouth’s core academic mission,” Dartmouth says in a statement released today.

“By restricting international students’ participation in any online courses our faculty choose to offer to protect the health and safety of our community members in the face of the continuing pandemic, the SEVP guidance strikes at the heart of that mission,” the statement says.

“For that reason, we will stand with our peers in opposing this guidance, through an amicus brief supporting today’s federal lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT seeking a temporary restraining order prohibiting enforcement of the guidance, through the national associations advocating for higher education institutions and our international students, and through continued outreach to our elected representatives.”

Dartmouth is working to identify possible solutions for fall-term instruction and housing and will provide resources to the institution’s international students.

The new rule shifts federal guidance that was in place for the spring and summer terms, which, as Inside Higher Ed explains, “allowed international students residing in the U.S. to take a fully online course load as colleges transitioned to online instruction in response to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The website reported that more than 90% of international students remained in the U.S. in the spring.

Susan Boutwell can be reached at susan.j.boutwell@dartmouth.edu.

Susan J. Boutwell