This email on the recent changes to the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program was sent to the entire CalArts community from CalArts President Ravi Rajan and Provost Tracie Costantino.
To our international students and families:
We are outraged at Monday’s announcement from the U.S. Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which stated that the State Department will not issue visas to new international students, and will end visas for current international students, whose coursework this fall is entirely online.
To our students, new and returning, do not fear: We stand with you. We will do what it takes to make sure you can continue your CalArts education.
In this, we are as stunned as you are – this cruel move by the administration defies the bedrock values of equity, inclusion, and access that we hold dear. The arts represent a central part of cultural understanding and exchange, giving us nuanced perspective and insights that resonate with our humanity. Especially now, reinforcing the arts and artists of every origin is central to empowering expression and social change.
We join our peers across the country in urging the administration to reverse course. We won’t let any international student risk losing their visa over this injustice. CalArts will make sure all international students will have course offerings that will let them stay in, or come into, the country.
Soon, you’ll be receiving more specifics and guidance from Fumiyo Araki, the director of the Office of International Students and Programs, and Robert Borden, the vice president of enrollment. In the meantime, please visit a special FAQ for international students on the CalArts website.
We stand strongly with each one of you. International students are CalArts. You will remain CalArts. Especially in these times, we are called to bind humanity together, not cleave it apart for political theater.
Our planning for the fall semester carefully balances public health (including from medical experts, not just government authorities that have both health and political motives) with the need to sustain everyone’s creative growth and unity through this extraordinary period. Nothing is more important to us than your safety and well-being, and we look forward to seeing you – remotely and otherwise – as the new academic year begins.
Ravi S. Rajan