Vice-Chancellor Brigety shared the following message with Sewanee students, faculty, and staff via email on Wednesday, July 8.
Dear members of the Sewanee family,
As you may be aware, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program released new guidelines this week that threaten the visa status of hundreds of thousands of international students studying in the United States. Under these guidelines, if instruction is conducted solely remotely this fall, Sewanee’s international students who are not currently on campus would be barred from entering the country. Those who are currently here would have to leave for their home countries.
The University of the South stands with many other colleges and universities in condemning these cruel and capricious regulations. If we are, as our University motto suggests, to “dwell together in unity,” then we have to protect the right of every member of the Sewanee student family, especially those who are most vulnerable, to equal access to a Sewanee education. Sewanee’s international students—many of whom have been on campus since January—deserve nothing less.
Sewanee promotes the flourishing of a diverse and inclusive campus community, and we deeply value the perspectives and contributions of our international community. Members of Sewanee’s Office of Global Citizenship and others are working hard to make sure that our international students are cared for during this time of confusion and uncertainty. We are committed to allowing Sewanee students to continue their studies, no matter their country of origin.
On July 9, Vice-Chancellor Brigety joined the other 15 presidents of the member institutions of the Associated Colleges of the South in issuing a joint statement opposing the recent policy change announced by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and urging a return to the Spring 2020 guidelines.
The statement reads in part: “Not only will this compromise our international students’ college experience, all our students would be deprived of the diversity, range of ideas and perspectives, and exposures to global cultures by the extraction of our international students.”