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July 09, 2020
In recent weeks, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced changes in how immigration status will be addressed that could adversely affect our international faculty, staff, and students. Grand Valley State University is committed to ensuring that our international colleagues and students receive the support and information needed to ensure they are safe, valued, and robust contributors to our community. The contributions of our international faculty, students and staff are essential to the quality of our learning environment. I am not alone in recognizing the value of the international members of our community and understand how important they are to the intellectual growth of every Grand Valley student and the institution. I know President Mantella and all of my colleagues share the same view.
The University continues to work with those faculty and staff who may be impacted by these new orders. I have asked the Human Resources Office and the Legal Office to provide an opportunity for this group of faculty and staff to meet with experts in immigration matters so the University can help provide support. The faculty and staff that could be affected by changes will be contacted soon with additional information.
Our international students provide a valuable global perspective in classes, student organizations, campus employment, athletics, and residence life. I imagine that the students may be feeling confused and vulnerable right now. It is important that we help these students enroll in at least one hybrid and/or face-to-face course in order to remain in the United States. An independent study course for undergraduate students or a one-credit project, thesis or dissertation course for graduate students are examples. It is important to note that these courses must count towards a student’s progress to graduation. I have asked the Deans to be sure that each international student is enrolled in such a course. I trust that our faculty and staff are able to help our international students successfully continue their educational goals at Grand Valley.
The Padnos International Center (PIC) and the Admissions Office continue to work with our new and returning international students regarding visa appointments, border issues, and self-isolation period as well as keeping them informed of the constantly evolving situation on campus and in the United States. If you are aware of any international student concerns, please reach out to the Padnos International Center (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Grand Valley State University will maintain its support for our international population as we work through DHS and ICE regulations to maintain the institution’s compliance. We value the contributions of all of our faculty, staff, and students, and will continue to advocate for the international voices to be an important aspect of our campus community.
Maria C. Cimitile, Ph.D.
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs