Oregon State University, alongside 19 other universities located in Washington, California, Arizona and Utah, launched a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security for a new rule requiring international students to take at least one in-person class to remain eligible for their visa.
“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, OSU and many U.S. universities and colleges transitioned in spring from in-person to remote instruction,” wrote Steve Clark, vice president of University Relations and Marketing in a press release. “At the time, the federal government relaxed existing immigration rules to allow international students to take courses online while in the U.S. or abroad while retaining their immigration status due to the pandemic.”
The new rule was rescinded by the federal government the day after the lawsuit was filed.
According to University Provost and Executive Vice President Edward Feser, the university is happy with this outcome.
“This resolution reinstates for now federal provisions adopted last spring that allow international students to take courses online while in the U.S. or abroad while retaining their immigration status,” Feser said in a university-wide email. “The willingness of the federal government to return to its March policy is heartening considering the serious harm the proposed restrictions would have had on students and many universities and colleges.”
Oregon State University, as well as the 19 other universities who filed the lawsuit, are waiting for DHS to publish its new rules, according to Clark.
Clark provided responses on behalf of himself and University General Counsel Rebecca Gose, who is representing the university in the lawsuit.
“OSU and the coalition of other universities and colleges, who filed suit in this matter, have not yet dismissed their lawsuit,” Clark said in an email. “Before acting to do so, we are working with the Department of Homeland Security to ensure sufficient publication and clarity of the agency’s rescission of the rules prohibiting international students fully taking online courses.”
The next court date is set for July 27, according to court documents.