Travel ban’s impact on universities, international students http://kokomoperspective.com/kp/travel-ban-s-impact-on-universities-international-students/article_cf4d618c-eff3-11e7-8cd3-8f41ff699dc0.html
On Dec. 4, the United States Supreme Court allowed President Trump’s travel ban to begin full implementation.
Citizens from seven countries – Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Somalia and Yemen – were placed under restrictions limiting travel into the United States. What is the one group most concerned about the travel ban’s impact? International students who are studying, or planning to study, at American colleges and universities.
Their concerns range from potential consequences from traveling home during school breaks (including the inability to re-enter the country) to their complete prevention from completing their studies in the U.S. An important provision of the travel ban states that individuals with a “bonafide” relationship with a United States entity will be allowed to enter the country. A college acceptance letter and subsequent visa issuance is considered a “bonafide” relationship. Moreover, the Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status, also known as the I-20, allows students to stay in the country for the duration of their program.
Nevertheless, it is incumbent on American colleges and universities to reassure their international students with accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information and policies concerning the travel ban.
In the midst of partisan debate, media-driven dialogue, and online commentary, current or aspiring students are often caught between rumors and reality, creating an atmosphere of fear, worry, and hostility.
Consequently, colleges and universities should do the following: 1) develop or enhance communications with international students regarding travel including their initial trip to the United States; 2) work with local media to distribute accurate information; and 3) provide opportunities and activities for students wishing to stay in the United States during the breaks to prevent their feeling lonely or isolated.
Most importantly, however, it is incumbent (especially for academics) to deal in the policy realities regardless of personal opinions on the larger travel ban. International students look to their professors and administrators as their advocates and guardians, and we owe it to them to fulfill this role.
With more than 950,000 international students currently studying in the United States, it is imperative that American colleges and universities remain welcoming centers of research and innovation. American students benefit from interactions with their international counterparts, and the environment of exchange should be rooted in open and tolerant discourse built upon sound policies that help and not hinder the mission of U.S. higher education.
The article was written by contributor Michael Harris, Ph.D. Dean and professor of Tennessee State University, and Cara Robinson, Ph.D. interim Dep. Chair and Associate Professor of Tennessee State University. Harris is the former chancellor of Indiana University Kokomo.