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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Campus

Petition asks for one-credit course for international students


The petition calls for University officials to create an in-person one-credit hour class in order to protect international students' immigration status. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

The petition calls for University officials to create an in-person one credit hour class in order to protect international students’ immigration status. | Christopher Charleston/The Cougar

A petition requesting a one credit hour course, designed to prevent the removal of international students, has over 2,200 signatures.

The petition started by law student Lama Zakzok was created in response to Immigration and Customs Enforcement‘s recent guidelines stating that international students enrolled in entirely online classes will be required to leave the country.

The petition suggests adding the one credit class as an in-person option for international students to protect their immigration status.

“The new directive thus harms international students on many levels but they also harm our institutions and our state,” the petition reads. “This is a malicious attack on our students for political purposes and nobody is better off.”

Despite citing the immigration guidelines as a federal level policy, the petition states the University has the ability to protect students on a campus level.

Additionally, the petition requests the proposed class to have excused absences for international students to avoid the risk of student removal if the University opts to move completely online at any point.

“Though this policy needs to be overturned at the federal level, UH has the power well within its authority to protect our international students,” the petition says. “We demand that UH does so.”

Some universities, including Columbia, Brown and Stanford, proposed hybrid courses as a way to accommodate international students, according to Forbes.

The University currently plans to have some in-person components available through HyFlex classes, but ultimately transitioning to all online classes after Thanksgiving break.

“This is the only way to guarantee that students are not at risk for deportation if the University decides to transition to online-only classes at any point in the semester,” the petition says. “Our request for action is inspired by other universities who have considered and created a similar program.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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