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Responding to Regulations Affecting Our International Students

July 8, 2020 

Dear members of the Saint Louis University community, 

Earlier this week, we learned about disconcerting changes that could affect international students. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced temporary regulation changes to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. These new regulations prevent international students studying in the U.S. from taking exclusively online classes. 

While we at SLU continue to plan for both online and in-person classes, this is not the case for other universities. Some have chosen to move to online courses exclusively. At some point during the fall term, universities –– SLU included –– could be forced to consider another pivot to online instruction. Under the new regulations, this pivot would require international students to return home. 

This morning, a couple of high-profile universities challenged this mandate in court. We support their efforts, and we oppose decisions that limit access to higher education in the U.S. 

I speak for our entire University when I say to our international students: You are always welcome at SLU. Your cultures, perspectives, and lived experiences make our University a better place to live, work, learn and worship. You belong here. We want you here. 

Our campus must strive to be a welcoming, inclusive and equitable place for all –– regardless of race, nationality, religion and any other differences we share.  

Despite these temporary regulations, you are still welcome to take classes at SLU this fall through one of three options (these apply to undergraduate and graduate students): 

International students will soon receive a communication with specific information on how to proceed with the fall semester. In the meantime, the International Services team can be reached at 314-977-2318 or internationalservices@slu.edu

Our focus the last few days has been one-on-one communication with our international students. I want to thank the Office of International Services for the hard work they continue to put toward those direct conversations. I often hear that this personal attention is why international students choose to come to SLU. We remain committed to that effort. 

In solidarity, 

Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D.
President