Following the University announcement that classes will be held online and residence halls will be closed for the remainder of the semester, international students will need to petition the Office of Residential Life to remain on campus, Adrienne Nussbaum, director of the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), said in an email to The Heights.
Exceptions to the move-out policy will be accepted on a case-by-case basis, according to an email sent to the student body from Executive Vice President Michael Lochhead. The email also said that short-term accommodations will be provided for students who need to schedule international travel.
Hollie Watts, a student from the UK and MCAS ’21, said that the process has been “very overwhelming.”
“There are really bad challenges for international seniors especially,” Watts said, specifically citing graduation and Senior Week.
For international students returning home, OISS is offering immediate travel signatures, required documents for international students that acknowledge their status as a student and allow them to re-enter the United States. Nussbaum said in an email to The Heights that the office is waiving the usual requirement to show updated financial certification. The office is also currently continuing to provide its usual services, and it will extend its hours open to the public by one hour a day.
“I’m very uniquely affected with the travel ban—I’m British,” Watts said. “It’s difficult with trying to book flights and being able to get a travel signature. No one can forget that. There’s kind of uncertainty with when it will all be over.”
President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that starting late Friday, the United States would be suspending travel from more than two dozen European countries—the UK and Ireland are not included in the travel suspension.
If international students stay enrolled in classes online and complete their courses, their immigration status will stay valid, Nussbaum said in an interview with The Heights on Wednesday, prior to Trump’s announcement of the travel suspension and BC’s announcement of the cancellation of in-person classes. Nussbaum confirmed in an email on Thursday that it is the office’s understanding that this is still the case.
“If [international students] are working with their professors and they can continue to take all their classes online, then they don’t officially have to go on a leave of absence, they’re still going to be considered BC students,” Nussbaum said on Wednesday. “From an immigration perspective, even though it’s an unusual situation, even though they’re leaving the U.S., we’re going to keep their immigration status as valid. … That’s the interpretation as of today.”
OISS received multiple negative emails from members of the BC community earlier in the semester regarding international students, Nussbaum said in the Wednesday interview.
“We actually got a couple of emails … from members of the BC community that were not very positive about our students and wanted us to identify them and put masks on them and test them,” Nussbaum said. “Obviously we weren’t going to do that, so we basically ignored those emails.”
Nussbaum said that OISS is currently doing its best to accommodate international students.
“It’s really hard when I’m not getting the information or communication,” Nussbaum said. “… I just want the University to know in general there’s an office that cares about the international students. We are advocating for them, we’re making sure that concerns are being heard, and that every decision around this being made that they’re being taken into consideration.”
Featured Image by Jack Miller / Heights Senior Staff