Mizzou and KU are standing in solidarity with their international students in opposition to new federal guidelines that require international students to leave the country if they have to take all of their classes online.
As universities scramble to figure out how to operate in the midst of the ebb and flow of a pandemic, there is a strong possibility that some if not all classes will be entirely online for the next few semesters. This announcement from the federal government has caused a lot of anxiety for international students whose futures are now in limbo.
But two of the largest public universities in the area are uniting against this decision.
In a statement released to Mizzou students on Wednesday, UM System President and Interim Chancellor Mun Choi said, “this rule does not apply to students enrolled at Mizzou. We will be offering in-person and blended classes during the upcoming semester, so international Mizzou students are not required to leave the country.”
Choi also urged that this decision was made against the advice of higher education officials and that Mizzou, which has two-thousand international students, will be doing everything they can to help their international community.
“We recognize that this guidance has caused a great deal of anxiety and concern for our entire community. We cannot stress enough that at Mizzou, we will always do everything in our power to ensure our international students are supported as vital members of our Tiger family and that they receive the high-quality education they have come to expect,” Choi says.
On the other side of the border, KU, which has over 2,100 international students, has had a harsher response. In a statement released Wednesday, Chancellor Douglas A. Girod called the decision “mean-spirited and unworkable.”
“To put it plainly, blocking and possibly expelling international students in the middle of their studies is inhumane, serves no one’s interests, and would set back the United States’ ability to attract the brightest minds to study here,” Girod says.
Girod promised to fight against this policy and others that would come in the way of student’s education.
“As you know, we continue our planning to reopen campus to the greatest extent possible while maintaining health and safety as our top priority,” he says. “We will stand firm against federal pressure that in any way compromises that priority.”