Update from One Merriman Lane | Supporting Our International Student Body

Dear Ripon College community,

As someone born outside of the United States, who holds dual citizenship and has studied and worked in several different countries, I personally believe in the fundamental importance of education and experiences that cross borders. 

I strongly condemn the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s guidance issued earlier this week that limits the ability of international students to participate in an all-virtual course schedule during the health crisis. This reckless action harms our international students and puts their health, stability and academic progress at risk. 

Ripon College has always welcomed and supported students from across the world. Our international students are integral members of our learning community and they are a core part of our identity and history.

Since the health crisis shut down colleges and universities in March, Ripon has extended housing, food and student services to our small and vibrant international student community. Faculty and staff have donated their time and resources to make sure this group of students stayed healthy, safe and remained in good spirits. 

We are working with our faculty and staff to create a fall curriculum that will be a mix of in-person and online learning. If the health situation evolves, and we must go online as we did last March, we will insist that our international students remain part of the college community. 

In recent years, I have been vocal about proposed changes to immigration policies that negatively affect our community, including the 2017 “Travel Ban” executive order on predominantly Muslim countries and in letters to our legislators protesting the Administration’s revocation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). 

I am proud that Ripon College values a learning environment that emphasizes internationalization and celebrates those in our community who come from different cultures, faiths and areas of the world. The global diversity of our students, faculty, staff and alumni is part of what makes our institution unique.

Zach Messitte
President


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