The Trump administration has resumed its cruel, racist attacks on international students by establishing rules which make it nearly impossible for them to study in the United States should precautions related to COVID-19 result in more online instruction. My fellow Crow PIs and I are contacting our legislators to ask that they intervene.
Each of us is sharing the letter below, and we’ve encouraged Crow researchers to do the same. If you’d like to borrow from our letter to write your own #StudentBan letter or op-ed, be our guest. We suggest you review the helpful suggestions regarding effective lobbying created by Chris Marsicano; they guided our work here, and we thank him for sharing.
Our letter to lawmakers
Dear Senators and Representatives,
I am one of the leaders of Crow, the Corpus & Repository of Writing, an inter-institutional research team that studies writing using computer-based tools. We collect student writing, process it, and create searchable databases that enable data-driven research. Learn more at writecrow.org. Today we write regarding the rules the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) plans to publish for Fall 2020 (link below).
We are sure you realize the many contributions that international students make to higher education: tremendous intellectual engagement, diversification of communities, and tuition revenue. More concerning, however is the open hostility these proposed rules demonstrate toward international students who are already affected personally and professionally by the consequences of COVID-19. The increased uncertainty imposed by these rules, when travel, funding, and educational plans are already precarious is unacceptable.
Our research project depends heavily on international students. They contribute much of the writing that we study, and many of our researchers are international graduate students. The proposed rules ignore the terrible consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak for students. Insisting on a stable face-to-face model for higher education creates a situation where students and faculty may have to compromise public health and personal safety in the name of regulatory compliance. Institutions will be discouraged from moving courses online even if common sense demands it. Given the terrible problems faced by our communities in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and other states, this is simply unconscionable.
Crow research has already been slowed by the COVID-19 outbreak. These rules threaten to bring it to a complete halt. We ask that you pressure SEVP to modify these rules to offer all higher educational institutions the flexibility they need to meaningfully include international students in courses and research, whether online, face-to-face, or hybrid, for all of the coming academic year.
Please ensure more stability for our universities and our students. Thank you for your time.
Dr. Bradley Dilger, Purdue University
Dr. Shelley Staples, University of Arizona
Dr. Randi Reppen, Northern Arizona University
Dr. Ashley Velázquez, University of Washington
Dr. Michelle McMullin, North Carolina State University