Oregon’s Attorney General and two of the state's largest universities are part of a pair of lawsuits attempting to block a new federal rule they say will harm international students.
The Trump administration announced that visas for international students would be revoked unless they attend primarily in-person classes during the fall semester.
Normally, such students are required to receive most of their instruction on-campus, but the rule was suspended in the spring as U.S. colleges shifted to remote learning due to the coronavirus. With plans for the upcoming academic year in flux, the federal government said they’d no longer waive the rule.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, as well as leaders at Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, say the decision could jeopardize the status of more than 10,000 students in the state.
The schools and the Attorney General have joined a pair of multi-state, multi-school lawsuits seeking an injunction. They say the requiring in-person classes could put the health of international students at risk.
“If we do not quickly stop this rule from going into effect, our higher education system will be dramatically changed," said Rosenblum. "Thousands of Oregon international students who are supposed to start classes in a few weeks will risk deportation, and may lose entirely their access to education in the United States."
"If enacted, the federal order will force students to return to their home countries during a global pandemic and to relocate to their home countries – many of which have unstable political and public health conditions," said OSU president F. King Alexander.
OSU and the U of O, along with Western Oregon University, are also among 180 schools that filed an amicus brief last week in support of a separate lawsuit filed by Harvard and MIT.