Ohio University

Ohio University reaffirms its commitment to fair treatment and inclusivity for our international students

Published: July 8, 2020 Author: Staff reports

The following message was shared with the University community on July 8, 2020.

Dear University Community: 

We are writing to express our deep concern and alarm following Monday’s announcement by the Department of Homeland Security Student and Exchange Visitor Program of new policies that will restrict the ability of international students to enroll in fully online programs while in the United States during the fall semester. This guidance threatens to fundamentally disrupt international students’ educations and their lives, even with the hybrid model that Ohio University is currently planning for the fall.

Ohio University benefits greatly from students who travel from around the world to study here, just as other colleges, universities and communities around the nation do. Our international students bring valuable knowledge, insight and experience to Ohio University and the vibrant communities that we serve. We are stronger due to the vital contributions of these students: supporting current and future leaders in science, engineering, social sciences, humanities and the arts reflects the integral role higher education plays in seeking a healthier and more stable world.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting changes to the delivery of our academic programs earlier this year have been particularly challenging for our international students. Now, more than ever, is the time to support them, not to add further challenges and disruptions. We intend to remain globally connected to our students, faculty, staff, and alumni as we persevere during these difficult times.

University leaders are closely examining these new policies, and we urge the Department of Homeland Security Student and Exchange Visitor Program to revisit its decision.

We strongly support the American Public and Land-grant Universities’ position that the federal government should provide international students with the maximum flexibility they need to study this year at our nation’s universities.

Ohio University is planning to begin fall classes on Aug. 24 with a mixture of in-person and online classes.  We will continue to support and act in the best interest of all students, which emphatically includes international students. In the meantime, we will continue to monitor this situation, and we will keep the University community informed of important developments as they unfold.

Please do not hesitate to contact International Student and Faculty Services at isfs@ohio.edu or (740) 593-4330 if you or someone you know would benefit from these services. Additionally, 
Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) is available to provide mental health and adjustment services to students and consultation to faculty, administrators and parents of students.

Robin D. Muhammad, Ph.D.
Chair, Ohio University Faculty Senate 

M. Duane Nellis, Ph.D.
Ohio University President

Elizabeth Sayrs, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President and Provost