July 14 UFIC Dean Memo

14 July 2020

Dear UF International Students,

This afternoon, SEVP (the Student and Exchange Visitor Program) rescinded the new guidelines announced on July 6, concerning the number of online courses that international students may take to remain in status in the Fall 2020 semester. As a result, all international students who have been studying in the United States may continue to pursue their studies according to the modalities which their respective universities have deemed best in the context of the current global pandemic. There will be no requirement for courses with a physical presence.

We join universities around the country in welcoming this decision.

From the moment that the new guidelines were announced last week, the University of Florida has been advocating to policymakers for a change to the new policy, while also beginning to make plans to ensure that—regardless of the outcome—our international students would be able to continue in their studies and make progress to their respective degrees. As Provost Joe Glover noted in his message to the UF community on 8 July, “UF values all of our students and is focused on ensuring that everyone makes appropriate academic progress in the year ahead, despite COVID-19 and other challenges.”

We know that the past week has added enormously to the stress on our international students, as well as on their friends, families, colleagues, and faculty mentors at UF. In the past week, we have heard from people throughout the university community expressing their support for our international students. Please know that you are core and valued members of the Gator Nation. We look forward with pleasure to continuing to work with you for a successful 2020-21 academic year, at a time when universities have a more important role than ever to play in addressing the challenges facing the world.

With best wishes,

Leonardo A. Villalón
Dean, University of Florida International Center
Professor of African Politics