July 10, 2020
Dear Northern New Mexico College Community,
As you may be aware, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) recently announced that international students on M-1 and F-1 visas may not remain in the United States if they are attending a college or university that will operate fully online for the Fall semester. Northern joins with other institutions in New Mexico and nationwide in disapproval of this decision, which harms our international students and our College and local community. Northern joined our colleagues in the Council of University Presidents and co-signed a letter that will be sent to our congressional delegation urging the federal government to reconsider its position.
Over the years, Northern has been fortunate to welcome students from all over the world, including Brazil, Mexico, Cameroon, Spain, Jamaica, Morocco, and the Czech Republic, to name a few. International students enrich the Northern community and bring with them diverse perspectives and cultures that enhance the college experience both inside and outside of the classroom. They add to the beautiful diversity in the marketplace of ideas that makes college so vital to the growth of our students and our communities. International students have contributed to Northern as student-athletes, student ambassadors, and peer tutors, and some have even remained with us as valued staff members.
While many of our international students are currently studying with us from their home countries, others may wish to remain in the United States as they continue their education and should have the right to do so. For the well-being of our campus and community, Northern was the first College in New Mexico to announce the transition to online learning as the COVID-19 pandemic emerged this Spring, and the first to announce our intention to remain online for the Fall semester as cases continue to rise in New Mexico and across the country. The health and safety of our students should not come at the expense of their education or their right to remain in this country as active, contributing members of our community.
It is paramount that we remain unified as a College community. Northern is committed to assisting any of our international students who are struggling with this policy and will do all that we can to enable them to continue their education with us. It is our hope that this decision will be reconsidered or reversed in the interest of our students and their families. We owe our international students--we owe ALL of our students--nothing less.
Very Respectfully Signed on behalf of the Unified students, faculty and staff at Northern New Mexico College,
Richard J. Bailey Jr., Ph.D.