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July 13, 2020

Johns Hopkins files Lawsuit to block new U.S. rules on International Students.

Johns Hopkins

BALTIMORE, July 12, 2020 — Johns Hopkins University filed suit in federal court Friday to stop a Trump administration rule change that would severely impact nearly 5,000 international students at the University. The decision to abruptly rescind accommodations for online learning during the COVID pandemic is unlawful and fails to consider the many complexities of meeting our educational mission while also protecting our community’s health, the University said.

The University filed the suit in the Federal District Court for Washington, D.C., which has significant expertise in handling challenges against unlawful action by the federal government. Johns Hopkins joins other litigation related to the new rule filed by Harvard, MIT, and the University of California. Johns Hopkins’ plans for a hybrid, online/in-person model for some of its divisions present the broadest array of issues for the court to consider.

“The administration’s decision is gratuitous, cruel and inimical to what this country is about,” said Johns Hopkins President Ronald J. Daniels. “The University was left with no option but to bring an emergency lawsuit in federal court to stop the administration from pushing ahead with an illegal and unconstitutional directive. If the directive is permitted to stand, it would fundamentally undermine the educational freedoms and humanitarian values that animate higher education in our country.”

In the spring, when the pandemic was first taking hold, the universities, including Johns Hopkins, were forced to pivot to online education swiftly. The Trump administration appropriately responded by relaxing visa restrictions so that international students could remain in the United States while taking classes remotely. But on Monday, even as new coronavirus cases were hitting record levels in the United States, the administration reversed itself without warning, saying such students would not be allowed into the country if their course load was entirely online. Those already in the country could be required to leave within ten days of beginning ‘online only education’, a burden under any circumstances but much more so now given the heavy restrictions on international travel.

In its complaint, the University alleges that the administration’s actions are unlawful in several ways:

Johns Hopkins said it spent months meticulously planning for the fall semester based on its leading authorities’ expert guidance in medicine and public health. It said it seeks to balance the best opportunities for its students to continue their education and research with an unwavering commitment to safeguarding their health and safety. “Our approaches vary by program, with some planning entirely online courses and others, including our undergraduate program, planning a hybrid approach mixing online and in-person elements,” the University added.

The Trump administration’s sudden announcement upends that careful consideration, the University explained. It neither accounts for the risks associated with switching to an all in-person approach nor the possibility that we may have no choice but to revert to all online classes if the pandemic takes a turn for the worse. Importantly, the administration’s actions may force students to choose between increased exposure to a deadly virus and maintaining their visa status.

• “Johns Hopkins University has the responsibility to protect its students, faculty, and staff. It has the scientific expertise to determine how it will execute its mission of research and education safely without government intervention,” the institution stated.

“Johns Hopkins has a century-long commitment to international collaboration in scholarship and research. The mix of students and faculty of different backgrounds and outlooks advances knowledge and discovery in our laboratories and contributes to the intellectual growth of all our students.”

“This unjust and discriminatory attack on international students cuts to the core of our education and research mission. It cannot be allowed to stand,” the University concluded.

Source: Johns Hopkins University

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 8:21 AM | Link to this Post

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