PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A student at Carnegie Mellon University is speaking out after a recent ICE ruling.
International students with F-1 or M-1 visas will not be allowed to participate in a fall semester that is online only. The CMU student, who did not want to be identified, is speaking out against the rules released by the Trump administration.
“I think it’s not only cruel but xenophobic during the current pandemic,” said the student.
The student wants to create awareness for fellow international students faced with the tough decision: do they stay or leave?
“I think this needs to be reversed, either by the lawsuit or any other mechanism we find suitable for now,” he said.
Carnegie Mellon University is joining other colleges and universities in pushing back against the decision.
CMU filed a brief in support of that lawsuit this week saying that this order is “misguided and cruel.” CMU plans on offering a hybrid model of classes in the fall.
While Pitt hasn’t formally weighed in on the lawsuit, the university said it’s doing what it can to protect its international students and will stand alongside other colleges and universities.
“If it doesn’t, we risk many things. Losing our legal status, we risk our health because we need to either go to class or go back to our home countries,” the student said.
Penn State says it will also be filing a brief in support of Harvard and MIT’s lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and ICE.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto also put out a statement:
“As we grapple with a global pandemic, the decision to modify federal policies to require international students to take-in person classes to keep their visa status is misguided and callous. These policy changes, rather than improving our national COVID-19 response, would be detrimental to public health, our institutions of higher learning, our economy, and our communities. These newly announced policies represent the continued efforts to chip away at duration of status by the Trump Administration, efforts which hinder the ability of the United States to recruit valuable international talent and further our economy. More importantly, these changes to SEVP policies irresponsibly puts the well-being of our international students in severe jeopardy.
Here in Pittsburgh, our international students not only help drive the academic and research excellence of our institutions of higher learning but are critical contributors to our regional economy and our community infrastructure. The story of Pittsburgh’s revitalization lies not only in bringing young people to learn at our world-class institutions, but in encouraging young minds to invest in Pittsburgh and call it home. The economic benefit of international students on our regional economy is undeniable. In our region, one job is created for every two international students enrolled in our colleges and universities. Supporting international students is critical to the well-being of Pittsburgh, which is why our Welcoming Pittsburgh Plan is committed to ensuring access to our exceptional educational resources and promoting international learning exchanges. The contributions of our international students will be critical to a robust economic recovery in the wake of the COVID- 19 pandemic.
Beyond their economic contributions, our international students are a vital part of the fabric of our communities. They volunteer their time to support neighbors in need. They lend their voices to movements for justice. They drive forward research and innovation. Pittsburgh is fundamentally shaped by these students and they make us better every day.
Colleges and universities should have the autonomy to make decisions about reopening based on independent assessments of capacity and risk, without coercion by arbitrary governmental policy. International students should not have to choose between leaving their new homes and prioritizing their health and safety. I stand firmly committed to working to preserve the ability of our international students to remain in Pittsburgh while pursuing their education.”