SPU announces support for international students

Seattle Pacific University President Dan Martin announced support for international students studying at his institution after a recent decision by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that would bar them from remaining in the country if they take all their classes online.

In an email to the SPU community on July 9, Martin said the ICE announcement has caused fear and concern among the university’s more than 170 international students who come from 39 countries. “I am surprised and disappointed by this new regulation, especially in the face of a global pandemic as it adds an extra layer of unneeded worry for international students regarding finances, travel, health and safety, remaining at their institution of choice, and making progress toward their academic goals,” Martin stated in the email. “We had no sense that this ruling and direction were in discussion…and we will make sure they know we will do everything possible for them to remain at SPU and continue their studies.” The university is expecting the same number of international students for the 2020-21 academic year.

Seattle Pacific is planning to begin Autumn Quarter in a hybrid format of in-person classes and remote learning, which means international students will be able to continue their studies at Seattle Pacific. But if the university changes their plan due to the coronoavirus, international students studying at SPU would be severely impacted and may have to immediately leave the country.

Martin added that SPU’s Office of International Student Services has been in contact with international students to offer them support and guidance, and faculty have reached out to help and adjust their classes if needed. “I can safely say the entire SPU community stands behind these students, whose presence on our campus makes us a better and stronger institution,” Martin stated in the email.

Martin is in conversation with higher education colleagues and state and national political leaders discussing the best way to register opposition to this ruling and to elevate the negative impact it will have on international students.

“During a global pandemic, it is more apparent than ever that we are all interconnected. SPU’s commitment to global engagement and our international students — students who add great richness and depth to our communities — remains unwavering,” Martin stated in the email.

Posted: Monday, July 13, 2020