Message from the IC international community


Contributed by Diana Dimitrova

Dear Ithaca College community,

I am writing to thank everyone (students, alums, faculty and staff) who reached out in response to the operational guidance released by the US  immigration authorities earlier this week. The ramifications of this guidance and are extreme and extremely challenging – even for institutions like Ithaca College who will be offering a hybrid model of instruction in the Fall semester.

Below I am sharing a message from one of our international students – Antara Sen ’23 – which demonstrates why it is important for the IC community to understand how these proposed guidelines could negatively affect her and her fellow international students.


Diana Dimitrova, International Student Services


Dear IC community,

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this today. 

On 6th July, ICE announced new guidelines for international student visas. They state that students at institutions offering only online courses have to leave the US or face the danger of being deported. And for an institution offering in-person and hybrid instruction in Fall 2020 (e.g. Ithaca College), international students MUST be on campus. But there are also no exemptions for international students when it comes to travel bans. What this means is that those of us who can't get back to campus risk their student visas, with no guarantee for visa renewals and they thus endanger their entire educational path.

As you can see, these guidelines, masked as a public health precaution, aim to pose challenges as we students try to obtain the education we chose for ourselves, an education we knew stood head and shoulders above the rest -- an American education. And having had this faith in the American dream that hurts most.

Personally speaking, I had to fight my parents for four years for them to finally let me study in the US. They thought it would be dangerous, discriminatory, possibly fatal. But I knew they were wrong. I believed, with all my heart, that this is the place where hard work can get you far.  

And we international student have worked hard. We have clawed our way here. Out road here is paced with years of determination and perseverance. When we landed here to begin the rest of our lives, we knew that all our work had been worth it. 

And now, suddenly, ICE want to take that away. They want to take away not just our place here, but all of the work we've put to get here.

Now is when we need you most. We need you stand with us and fight with us. As American citizens, you have power we could never even imagine. So use that power.

As individuals, you can contact your Representatives and your Senators. Call them, email them, educate them and urge them to oppose this unfair and unsafe rule! As an institution, we can put forth policies which will ensure the safety of IC students and form a coalition with other institutions which stand against the proposed rule. As a member of this community, you can also reach out to international students whom you know and make sure they're alright. 

IC is our home, too, and not being there with you all this Fall is a thought we cannot bear to imagine. So help us for we cannot make it through without you.

One of many international students counting on you,

Antara Sen