Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are suing the Trump administration over its plan to force international students to leave the US or transfer to another college if their schools offer online-only classes this fall. "The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness," Harvard President Larry Bacow says, per CNN. He adds the order will affect 5,000 students at Harvard, which had announced remote-only instruction shortly before the order was issued by ICE on Monday. It seems "designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms" with no regard for health or safety, Bacow says. "ICE is unable to offer the most basic answers about how its policy will be interpreted or implemented," MIT President L. Rafael Reif adds, per the Wall Street Journal.
Though foreign students have long been barred from coming to the US for online-only courses, the colleges believe that, considering the global pandemic, there should be leeway for the more than 1 million international students in the US. "Just weeks from the start of the fall semester, these students are largely unable to transfer to universities providing on-campus instruction, notwithstanding ICE's suggestion that they might do so to avoid removal from the country," reads the lawsuit filed in the US District Court for Massachusetts. And "for many students, returning to their home countries to participate in online instruction is impossible, impracticable, prohibitively expensive, and/or dangerous." President Trump had ridiculed Harvard over its reopening plan on Tuesday. "I think it's an easy way out and I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves," Trump said, per CBS Boston. (Read more foreign students stories.)