School for Workers stands in opposition to the SEVP modifications

Re: Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) modifications
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Chancellor Blank
Office of the Chancellor
161 Bascom Hall, 500 Lincoln Drive
Madison WI 53706

July 10, 2020


Chancellor Blank:

The faculty and staff of the School for Workers, Division of Continuing Studies, share your concern about the announced modifications and guidance issued by the Student Exchange Visitor Program. These rule changes are an affront to equity and inclusion at a time when the country desperately needs to embrace these values rather than turn its back on international students. In addition to blatant racism against valued members of the UW community, these xenophobic rules will harm the entire educational community as it will lose the cultural and academic richness that international students bring and share with our communities . The rules are also irresponsible and perhaps deadly as they encourage behavior that could easily lead to increased cases of COVID-19 as students will be forced to attend in-person classes regardless of their health status to avoid deportation. The rules dangerously encroach on our shared values of inclusion and fail to adhere to recommendations of experts in the scientific and public health academic communities.

The School for Workers commends you for your July 7, 2020 statement in opposition to the new ICE guidance and encourages your office to continue to work towards the rescinding of the policy. As you explained, the new guidance provides little flexibility to the University to adapt to constant changes in society’s approach to COVID-19. It is also a direct attack on students based on color and national origin. We urge UW-Madison to join the litigation brought by other institutions of higher education to block implementation of these rules.

The School for Workers is committed to diversity and equality within our community as well as in the workforce. Please let me know if the department can assist your office in working on this important matter.

Alexia M. Kulwiec, J.D.

Director and Department Chair |UW-Madison, School for Workers