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Harvard, MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring international students – CNBC

Harvard University and MIT pushed back on Wednesday against a new rule that would require international students to take classes in-person this fall in order to stay in the country.

The guidelines issued Monday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement said “students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.”

Students who are enrolled in such programs “must depart the country or take other measures, such as transferring to a school with in-person instruction,” according to federal immigration authorities.

In response, MIT and Harvard jointly filed suit against ICE and the Department of Homeland Security in federal court in Massachusetts.

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“ICE threw Harvard and MIT — indeed, virtually all of higher education in the United States — into chaos,” the suit said.

“The order came down without notice — its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness,” Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said separately in a letter addressed to members of the Harvard community.

In the suit, the universities argue that ICE’s decision “leaves universities across the country, including Harvard and MIT, in the untenable situation of either moving forward with their carefully calibrated, thoughtful and difficult decisions to proceed with their curricula fully or largely online in the fall of 2020 … or to attempt, with just weeks before classes resume, to provide in-person education despite the grave risk to public health and safety that such a change would entail.”

“We ask the court to prevent ICE and DHS from enforcing the new guidance and to declare it unlawful,” MIT President L. Rafael Reif said in an email to the MIT community.

“It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others,” Harvard’s President Bacow said.

“We will pursue this case vigorously so that our international students — and international students at institutions across the country — can continue their studies without the threat of deportation,” he added.

We will pursue this case vigorously.

Lawrence Bacow

President of Harvard

Harvard University had just announced that some students will be welcome on campus this fall semester, but classes would be taught online. MIT also said there would be fewer students back on campus and a combination of online and in-person instruction. 

Other schools, such as the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University, have said they plan to hold some in-person classes, while the California State University System announced that all students, enrolled on 23 campuses, will take fall classes online.

Many colleges and universities are still in the process of determining what the upcoming academic year will look like.

Many U.S. schools rely on international enrollment. If those students cannot continue to study in the U.S., that would be a financial shock for a number of colleges and universities, according to Hafeez Lakhani, president of New York-based Lakhani Coaching. 

“The new ICE guidelines continue to throw fuel on the fire of a pending tuition crisis among colleges that depend on international students,” he said.

Further, “these policies deter international students from wanting to contribute intellectually and financially to the U.S. education ecosytem,” Lakhani added.

International students in the U.S. contributed nearly $41 billion to the national economy in the 2018-2019 academic year, according to NAFSA: Association of International Educators. (By other accounts, the number is even higher.) 

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Harvard analysis: Only 17 states and Washington, DC meeting coronavirus testing targets | TheHill – The Hill

Only 17 states and Washington, D.C., are currently meeting minimum targets for doing enough coronavirus testing, according to a new analysis.

The Harvard Global Health Institute, in collaboration with NPR, finds that 14 states and Washington, D.C., are doing enough testing to mitigate the spread of the virus, meaning it won’t be eliminated but it will not spread out of control. An additional three states are meeting a higher threshold of doing enough tests to suppress the virus and prevent almost any new cases.

But that means 32 states are falling short of either goal, highlighting how far the country has to go in ramping up testing, even as it has made progress.

The United States is conducting about 500,000 tests per day, a significant improvement from earlier in the outbreak. But the Harvard estimate states that given how large the current outbreak is, the country needs about 1 million tests per day to mitigate the spread of the virus, and about 4 million tests per day to go even further and suppress the virus.

The 14 states along with Washington, D.C., doing enough testing to mitigate the spread of the virus, according to the analysis, are: Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The three states meeting the higher goal of suppression-level testing are Vermont, Hawaii and Alaska, with West Virginia, Montana, and New Jersey close behind, the analysis finds.

Notably, the analysis finds the states with the worst outbreaks now, such as Arizona and Florida, are falling far short of the needed testing.

“The surges we’re seeing in large parts of the country are due in part because those states opened up too quickly and they relaxed way too much given how much virus they had in their community — and they lacked testing,” Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told NPR. “These two things really go hand in hand.”

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) called on President TrumpDonald John TrumpUtah Lieutenant Gov. Cox leads Huntsman in close governor’s race Trump tweets ‘we all miss’ Ailes after swiping at Fox Former NFL player Burgess Owens wins Utah GOP primary MORE to more fully use his powers under the Defense Production Act to order the ramping up of manufacturing of testing supplies, speaking Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”

“I really think we need to look at a greater use of the Defense Production Act so that we can make sure the supply keeps up with the demand that we know is going to continue growing,” Hutchinson said.

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