On July 6, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced new “temporary” exemptions to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program that allows international students to study at institutions of higher education across the country. These exemptions would require an international student to return to their home country within days of their college or university offering remote or online-only education because of the coronavirus pandemic, a move that many colleges already have taken and others know could become a reality as the pandemic continues to spread.

On July 8, Wartburg President Darrel Colson offered the following words of support to all current international students.

Dear Students,
Like you, I was shocked, even outraged, by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s announcement of new “temporary” exemptions to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. I know that you have already heard from Zafrul on this topic, but I want you to know, too, that I and everyone else working at Wartburg College is dedicated to your success as a student. Simply put,

• We will do everything in our power to ensure that you can continue and successfully complete your studies at this college; therefore,
• Even if circumstances beyond our control force the college to pivot to remote teaching as happened in March, we will move heaven and earth to ensure that you can continue taking courses in a way that satisfies the U.S. government.

Not only are you welcome on this campus, you are Wartburg Knights, and, as such, you are as entitled to be in this community, on this campus, as I am.

The pandemic has disrupted your lives, as it has billions of other lives, and I know that you feel an understandable anxiety about the coming weeks and months. We will face challenges, no doubt; we will endure unanticipated disruptions to our normal schedules and expectations, I’m sure. That means, of course, that we will confront specific problems along the way. But we will solve those problems together.

Stay in touch with Zafrul and others, ask questions as they occur, and bear with us if we cannot give you detailed answers immediately. Reaching the answer that best answers your need sometimes takes a bit of coordination and time; but, rest assured, we will do everything the law allows to address your needs.
P Col