July 15, 2020 – Open Letter to International Students

July 15, 2020

Open letter to UConn International Students:

UConn’s Office of Global Affairs stands with you.

Yesterday, in a Massachusetts court room, the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agreed to rescind its July 6th rule for international students.  It was a win not only for international students but also for the United States.

The pain and uncertainty caused by the ICE directive on international students was cruel and unnecessary.  Having spent the past several months coping with the pandemic both here in Connecticut and back in your home countries, we know how demoralized, anxious, and angry many of you feel.  Coming on top of several years of rising xenophobia and restrictive immigration policies, this unfair targeting of international students goes against the fundamental values of our university, as stated both by President Katsouleas, in his Declaration supporting the State of Connecticut joining the nationwide lawsuit, and by Provost Lejuez, in his recent message to the UConn community.

It was the strong opposition of many international students and their allies, such as educators in higher education institutions, legislators, attorneys, business leaders, and the general public in many states, that made the Trump administration reverse its directive. Although this directive is no longer in force, we know that you are still impacted by the message that it sent and the stress it caused.

We want you to know that UConn’s Office of Global Affairs in particular understands and values our international students, scholars, and staff.  You are important contributors to our classrooms, our labs, our teams, our clubs, our residence halls, our offices, and our lives.  You help to make us a vibrant intellectual and cultural community.  You are a key part of the UConn family.

As we always have, UConn’s Office of Global Affairs will fight to ensure that our university remains a truly global university, with students, faculty, and staff from all parts of the world.  Like the United States, our greatness is rooted in our diversity. Diversity invigorates the community, by bringing new perspectives and experiences from which to learn. An attack on you is an attack on us, and an attack on the ideals that are at the very core of the University’s mission, and to which this country aspires.

From this experience, we hope that you have regained your faith in the United States and its people.  We admire your courage.

Sincerely,
University of Connecticut
Office of Global Affairs Senior Leadership Team

Rae Alexander
Director, International Student & Scholar Services

Zahra Ali
Director, Global Partnerships & Outreach

Mark Boyer
Executive Director, International Studies Association

Kathryn Libal
Director, Human Rights Institute

Glenn Mitoma
Director, Dodd Human Rights Impact

Roy Pietro
Director, Global Training and Development Institute

Yuhang Rong
Associate Vice President for Global Affairs

Susan Rosman
Director, Financial Management

Ngozi Taffe
Assistant Vice President for Global Affairs

Daniel Weiner
Vice President for Global Affairs

Matthew Yates
Director, Education Abroad