By Olivia Bowman
The federal government announced on July 6 a new mandate for temporary international students, where nonimmigrant students must take in-person courses to remain in the United States, according to the ICE website. But after a nationwide uproar from colleges — of which students and administration from the College participated in — the Trump Administration revoked its previous mandate.
Nonimmigrant is a status given to those who are in the U.S. on a temporary basis, whether for travel, study or temporary work, according to the University of California at Berkeley.
As of July 14, this initial mandate was rescinded by the federal government. According to the Boston Globe, the unexpected announcement occurred in a federal district court hearing, which was spearheaded by a lawsuit filed by Harvard University.
Criticism from students toward the mandate was widespread immediately following the first announcement, and was brought to the immediate attention of many colleges and universities around the nation, including the College of New Jersey.
College President Kathryn Foster sent an email to students on July 9 regarding the original government mandate.
“The College of New Jersey stands with fellow colleges and universities in strongly condemning this cynical and harsh policy change from ICE,” Foster wrote. “Our international students are central to the life of the campus and our goal is to ensure their continued welcome and presence at TCNJ this fall and beyond.”
Foster also mentioned in her email that the office of academic affairs will be reaching out to each international student individually to assist them in “this dismaying and uncertain time.”
“We will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that our practices during TCNJ's Fall Flex semester provide maximum flexibility for our international students to continue their progress toward (a) degree at the College without interruption.”
As the College is planning to adopt the “Fall Flex” hybrid model for the upcoming semester, it falls under Section 3 of the government announcement which states that, under this hybrid model, nonimmigrant students will be allowed to take more than one class, or three credit hours, online.
Students at the College responded to the mandate through advocacy over social media and a petition, which garnered hundreds of signatures from both current students and alumni.
The letter was created on July 7 and was addressed to each individual school’s dean as well as the College’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, Jeffrey Osborn, among others.
“We, as students of The College of New Jersey, urge the Provost, College deans, and faculty members to stand in solidarity with our student body.” the letter states. “We request that a list of TCNJ faculty members willing to participate in full-semester in-person or independent study and/or research courses be identified and made readily available to international students.”
Additionally, the Executive Committee of the College’s NAACP circulated the petition through email, encouraging students to sign.
“We as the executive committee are in full support of this initiative and believe that it is important that you are all directed to this information as well, if you haven't been already,” the Committee’s email stated.
The nationwide backlash from students, young adults and colleges — of which the College was a part of — led to the Trump administration reversing course. Now, international students are no longer required to attend in-person classes in order to stay in the U.S., according to The Washington Post.
“TCNJ is enriched by the diversity of its community. We are steadfast in our commitment to providing a safe and purposeful college experience for all students and to taking meaningful action to fight racism and social injustices,” Foster stated at the end of her email. “This is our work. We stand stronger when we stand together.”