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Statement of Support for Clark’s International Students

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

We write to affirm our unequivocal support for our international students and to convey to the Clark community our strong objections to the guidance issued Monday by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, a division of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This guidance, if implemented, would prohibit international students from remaining in the U.S. if they only take online classes. These guidelines contradict ICE’s policies established this spring in response to the pandemic. They also punish international students only because the pandemic is forcing some institutions to offer only online classes, and run counter to the values that the United States has upheld as a leader in the global academic community.

Since Clark’s founding, international students have enriched the Clark community in numerous ways. As a global teaching and research university, Clark proudly welcomes students from around the world. Our international students are a vital part of our community, of its excellence and diversity, of its participation in global discovery, learning, and understanding.

On June 10, we announced our intention to re-open this fall with in-person, hybrid, and online courses. Our formal announcement confirming this decision will be forthcoming with extensive details and guidance to all members of our community. Our core principle in this re-opening process has been to extend flexibility to our students so that they can pursue their education in a modality suited to their health, financial, and other personal circumstances. For some students, doing so will mean taking online-only courses. In seeking to expel these students from the U.S., ICE’s ill-conceived guidelines arbitrarily disadvantage and marginalize them. We want our international students to know: We want you here, and we will fight for you to be here. You make Clark better.

Because Clark will offer an extensive in-person curriculum this fall, most of our international students would be unaffected if ICE implements these guidelines. But that such haphazard guidelines would harm any of our students, as they would, is unacceptable. Moreover, as a global learning institution, Clark focuses on societal change and betterment, and these guidelines violate the spirit of what the U.S. promises international students when they enroll in a university in our country. Just this spring, ICE provided international students the flexibility required for them to remain in the U.S. even as higher education adapted to the extraordinary and unpredictable unfolding of the global pandemic. Nothing about those circumstances has changed. In fact, the rise in COVID-19 cases around the country and in many places around the world warrants more flexibility, not less. Purging the U.S. of international students for no fault of their own diminishes our country.

We intend to explore every avenue available to us to stand against the implementation of these guidelines, are conveying our objections in no uncertain terms to our elected representatives in Washington, D.C., and are working with peer institutions and professional associations to urge ICE not to go forward with these changes.

Meanwhile, we want our international students to know that we are here to support them, and encourage them if they have any questions related to these guidelines to reach out to us at our International Students and Scholars Office at


David Fithian

Davis Baird
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Yuko Aoyama
Associate Provost and Dean of Research and Graduate Studies

Ed Carr
Director, International Development, Community, and Environment Department

Jerry Czub
Senior Director, Graduate Enrollment

Priscilla Elsass
Dean, School of Management

Amy Daly Gardner
Associate Dean for International Programs

Betsy Huang
Associate Provost and Dean of the College

Esther Jones
Associate Provost and Dean of the Faculty

John LaBrie
Associate Provost for Professional Education and Dean of the School of Professional Studies

Francy Magee
Associate Provost and Dean of Students

Susannah Marcucci
Director of the International Students and Scholars Office

Sheree Ohen
Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion

Meredith Twombly
Vice President of Admission and Financial Aid