Standing in support of our international students

July 14, 2020

Dear UAlbany Community: 

In the wake of new federal student visa rules announced last week by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), I want to reiterate the University at Albany’s strong support for our international students and state our unequivocal opposition to these new rules. The changes are punitive and irrational, requiring our international students to leave the country or risk violating their visa status if they are enrolled in a fully online program this fall. These rules not only run counter to our core values and mission—they undermine our ability to bring excellent students to study at our institution. They also leave our international students uncertain about whether they will be able to continue their studies in the U.S. 

Our “re-opening” plan for Fall 2020 calls for a mix of virtual and face-to-face classes, and our schools and colleges will help our international students develop a course schedule that complies with the new rules. Meanwhile, we are strongly committed to fighting these unjust and harmful regulations. I have already sent a letter to the New York State congressional delegation, as well as a letter to the acting DHS secretary signed by the four SUNY University Center presidents in strong opposition to this unjust rule. We are in close contact with Congressman Paul Tonko, a vocal opponent of the new rules, who is keeping us abreast of his compelling advocacy in this area, and we strongly support Attorney General Letitia James’s decision to file a lawsuit in response to the ICE policy.  

We will continue speaking out and supporting professional organizations such as the Association for Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) and the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), among others, to urge the federal government to reverse these indefensible regulations. 

Finally, I have asked our Center for International Education and Global Strategy to continue to inform, support and comfort our international students during these trying times. If you have questions or concerns, please contact International Student and Scholar Services at [email protected] or Interim Vice Provost Gilbert Valverde at [email protected]

On behalf of our entire University community, please know that we look forward to welcoming all our students—from across the globe—back to their studies this fall. 




Havidán Rodríguez