President Cevallos responds to federal order on international student visas – July 8, 2020

Dear FSU Community,

I'm writing today in response to a cruel and problematic decision by the federal government to strip international students of their visas if their coursework for the upcoming semester is taken online. The result of this order, which is xenophobic at its core, would be to interrupt our international students' ability to continue their education in the US, which is a loss for our nation and our campus.

The sudden announcement of this measure, which still has to be finalized, has created fear, anger, uncertainty, and confusion among the country's more than one million international students, as many colleges have announced plans to go fully or mostly online this fall as a safety measure during the COVID19 pandemic. It would be devastating to our international students and to the many families who sacrifice much for their children to come to the United States for a university education.

Some believe the federal government has taken this action as a means to pressure colleges to fully reopen, despite the significant safety risks of doing so. The measure disregards our carefully considered planning this summer to protect the health and safety of our campus community during a worldwide pandemic. 

The Office of International Education has already been directly in communication with our international students studying at the University under valid visas to express our support and plan next steps. FSU will do everything in its power to fight this measure and help ensure our students can continue their education at our University.

I'm heartened by the unified response of the country's colleges and universities in opposition to this move. Harvard University and MIT have already filed a lawsuit to block the order, and Massachusetts State Attorney General Maura Healey has also said that she is preparing a lawsuit to challenge the move.

The United States has a long history of educating international students, many of whom choose to remain in the country and contribute to our multicultural and innovative workforce. While FSU is home to a relatively small population of international students (visa holders), we recognize the assets, global perspectives and culture they bring to our campus. FSU is better because of our diversity. We stand with them at this time, and pledge to do our part to ensure their education is not interrupted.