Statement from President Feaver Regarding ICE Guidance

USAO Seal.
The seal for the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Dear International Students,

We are keenly aware that the recent statement issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) creates great anxiety and uncertainty concerning your continuing enrollment and degree progress at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. As if we have not seen enough upheaval in the course of the last few months, we are now faced with this ICE action that is simply appalling. It is callously discriminatory and with potentially cruel effect on the lives of a very important part of the USAO family.

Like any institution of higher education, international students at USAO make up an invaluable and irreplaceable part of our student body. The perspectives they bring to the classroom provide for the kind of intercultural communication that is so desperately needed in the world we live in. These new policies from ICE will not only potentially rob these students of their education, they will rob American students of friends and of an important opportunity to learn from other cultures.

As a small, close-knit university, USAO greatly values face-to-face interaction, and we do hope to return to a hopefully more normal learning environment this fall. But the health and safety of our students and staff will always come first. Given how rapidly the situation with the coronavirus is changing, we have to be willing to adapt to developing circumstances, and we will do everything possible to ensure that every single one of our students can continue to pursue their college education unabated.

To that end, I have created a working group to assess the situation our international students face and the steps we will take to support them.

The young people who study at USAO quickly come to find that, no matter where they are from, they have been accepted as part of a large new family. Every person affiliated with this university stands with them—we have navigated this unprecedented year together with understanding, sympathy and good humor, and we will overcome this latest hurdle to find we have grown closer for it.

Please know that faculty and staff are working internally to protect your status and externally with state and federal advocates to reverse the recent ICE guidelines and to formulate effective solutions to best ensure your continuing educational success as well as your personal health and safety at this college.

My very best as we continue to work on your behalf.

Forever Green & Gold,

John Feaver, President

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