President and Provost's Statement (July 9, 2020)

Members of the University of Portland Community,

On July 6th, U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), a federal law enforcement agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, issued modifications to exemptions for international students taking online courses during the Fall 2020 Semester. Essentially, ICE’s guidance states that international students studying in the United States must return home unless the institution they attend is providing classroom-based instruction for their programs.

The University of Portland is planning for a return to classroom-based instruction for the Fall 2020 Semester. Nevertheless, we believe that this guidance is unjust and deeply flawed. If enforced, it will have an enormously detrimental impact on our international students, our University community, and our nation.

To our international students, know that the University of Portland stands with and behind you. Your contributions to the intellectual, social, and spiritual life of our University cannot be overstated. You are always welcomed and valued at the University of Portland, and we pledge to support you during this challenging time.

Yesterday evening, the Office of International Student Services contacted our international students regarding this issue; the message sent to students may be accessed here. UP is in the process of contacting advocacy groups and policymakers in Washington, D.C., to express opposition to ICE’s new guidance. UP will also send communications to members of the Oregon Congressional delegation regarding this matter.

As a Catholic, Holy Cross institution, we reject xenophobia and we stand in solidarity with our international students. We encourage all members of the UP community to join us in advocating not only for our own community members from abroad, but indeed for all international students who contribute untold sums to our nation through their presence, virtues, and actions.


Rev. Mark L. Poorman, C.S.C., Ph.D., President
Herbert A. Medina, Ph.D. Provost
Eduardo R. Contreras, Ed.D., Assistant Provost for International Education, Diversity and Inclusion
Michael J. Pelley, Director of International Student Services