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KENT, Ohio (WJW) — Kent State University is the latest school here in Ohio to speak out against the new federal rules issued for international students.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a temporary change to the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, stating non-immigrant students who are taking only online classes this fall due to the pandemic cannot stay in the United States. They must take in-person classes as well.

“To accommodate the new regulations, we have been forced to act swiftly to ensure that all 1,409 of our international students have the needed in-person classes in their schedules in time for their visas to be properly certified,” Kent State’s president Todd Diacon said in an open letter.

Diacon also sent a letter to federal representatives urging the Department of Homeland Security to reconsider the new restrictions and go back to more flexible guidelines.

“I believe these new guidelines ignore the health and safety requirements for physical distancing, which are the reason we have converted so many in-person classes to remote instruction. Furthermore, these regulations are punitive toward international students, who are and will always be an important part of our Kent State community.”

In the meantime, the university is working to make sure all international students have schedules that comply with the new rules. Diacon said several colleges have already achieved that goal.

“Our entire university community benefits from the diversity that our international students bring to Kent State. They are invaluable members of our Golden Flashes family, and their contributions to our learning and living environment are immeasurable.”

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