CU Boulder Sociology Department

July 8, 2020

The Department of Sociology at CU Boulder condemns the appalling, discriminatory guidance issued by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The guidance puts the health and safety of international students, and their families, at risk by forcing an untenable choice between continued pursuit of higher education and exposure to COVID-19. We express unwavering support for our international students, and those across the country. We commit to protecting CU Boulder’s international students and to allow their continued, essential voices within our campus community. We further commit to advocacy at the campus, community, and national levels to push back on these continued racist, discriminatory actions.


CU Boulder Social Science Community Statement to CU Administration 

on recent ICE guidelines 

We write as the community of social science faculty, graduate students, and staff to express anger and dismay at the recent ICE directive to the Student & Exchange Visitor Program. The ICE/SEVP directive constrains international students’ ability to remain in the country based on in-person enrollment. Such a demand places international students in the untenable position of choosing between protecting their own and families’ health and safety and continuing the pursuit of learning. It further places faculty, staff, students, and the Boulder community at risk by increasing density and mixing on campus. On the one hand, the directive serves no compelling national security interest; on the other, its intent is clearly coercive, as it subjects international students to deportation even if a change in the institution’s operational status makes it impossible for any students to continue in-person learning. The directive effectively holds student visa holders hostage in order to force colleges and universities to remain open despite health and safety concerns that may compel closure. 

We call on CU Boulder’s administration to decisively put in place protections for the institution’s international students and to swiftly communicate with the campus community about those protections. We must commit to protecting CU Boulder’s international students and to ensure the contribution of their essential voices to our campus community.

We also call on the administration to strongly advocate on behalf of CU Boulder’s community and to push back on these ill-considered demands placed on international students. AAU President Mary Sue Coleman has forcefully remarked that the “ICE policy is immensely misguided and deeply cruel.” American Council of Education’s President Ted Mitchell has called the effort “horrifying”. Both the AAU and ACE have urged the administration to rescind the directive.

Where is CU Boulder’s voice amidst this outcry? It is imperative that the institution join others within higher education to collectively and decisively express support for international students and call out the discriminatory policy for what it is: a targeted, racist act that will have disastrous consequences for international students and for the higher education community writ-large.


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