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Message from President Rowe to International Students

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 July 14, 2020
An Update on Actions in Support of International Students
William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe sent the following message to the university's international students on July 14, 2020, regarding recent actions taken by the university to oppose ICE restrictions - Ed.

Dear International Students,

Since writing to you on July 8, William & Mary has taken additional steps to oppose the unfair and unfeasible restrictions announced on July 6, by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These new restrictions would prevent international students from returning to or remaining in the U.S. for remote-only instruction – creating significant barriers to learning.

William & Mary’s international students are essential and valued members of our global learning community. So I write with an update on our actions and to reiterate our support for you.

– Last week I signed on behalf of the university a letter that the American Council on Education will send to congressional leaders later this week. The letter urges elected officials to take action to protect the immigration and Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) status of international students even if they choose to take or are obligated by circumstances to take fully remote courses.

– William & Mary is advocating with the Virginia congressional delegation to make clear the urgency of this matter.

– Yesterday William & Mary submitted to the Virginia Office of the Attorney General a formal declaration to make the university a participant in advancing a multi-state lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE to challenge these restrictions.

While legal and legislative processes play out, William & Mary will continue doing everything we can to ensure that all of our international students who want to be on campus will have access to the in-person instruction they need in order to satisfy these new restrictions.

Best regards,

– Katherine

Katherine A. Rowe

July 8, 2020

Dear International Students,

On Monday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new restrictions that prevent international students from returning to or remaining in the U.S. for remote-only instruction. These regulations replace the existing flexibilities granted to students and universities under the COVID-19 pandemic. Yesterday, William & Mary joined universities throughout the U.S. in urging the administration to change this new rule.

These regulations are unfair, unfeasible, and threaten William & Mary’s teaching and research mission as a global university. They compound the uncertainty and concern brought on by pandemic and go against every value we hold as an institution.

This week, I have heard from students fearful about their immigration status. Let me state clearly: William & Mary will do our utmost to ensure your study at the university can continue in the U.S. uninterrupted this fall, should you decide this path works best for you. William & Mary’s Path Forward for the fall includes options for in-person and online courses. For international students who plan to study or conduct research in the United States this fall, we will do everything we can to ensure that you have some in-person educational experience for the entire semester.

The Reves Center will share more information as it becomes available. Should you have specific questions or concerns, I encourage you to reach out to Reves Center staff

International students are vital and honored members of our learning community. You make William & Mary a stronger, more vibrant university. We stand ready to support you in every way we can.

Stay well,


Katherine A. Rowe