University of Chicago reaffirms commitment to int'l students

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CHICAGO, July 9 (Xinhua) -- "We will continue to fully support our students in making progress toward their degrees, regardless of their nations of origin," University of Chicago (UChicago) President Robert Zimmer and Provost Ka Yee C. Lee wrote in a letter sent to members of UChicago community on Wednesday.

Members of the international community at the University of Chicago have had to confront many difficulties in recent months, ranging from travel restrictions related to COVID-19 to government actions affecting immigrants and visitors to the United States. "We are writing to reaffirm, in the strongest terms, our University's continuing commitment to welcoming and supporting scholars, students and staff from all parts of the world," the letter read.

Zimmer said he is proud that thousands of undergraduate, graduate and professional students from other countries have chosen to pursue studies at UChicago. "The potential exclusion of these students endangers our core commitment to welcoming people from all backgrounds to participate in intellectual life at the University."

This is a time for policies that uphold public health while advancing the status of the United States as a destination for scholars and students from all nations. "We will not allow the current pandemic to change our unwavering commitment of openness to the world," he said.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Monday announced that international students may have to leave the United States if their universities switch to online-only courses for the fall 2020 semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Under the new guidelines modified by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) run by the ICE, the U.S. Department of State will not issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall semester, nor will U.S. Customs and Border Protection permit these students to enter the United States.

"We firmly oppose this new measure and will work to lessen its impact on the University's international students," Zimmer said.

Statistics from the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago showed there are around 1,600 Chinese students studying at UChicago. Enditem

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