Pitzer and 19 Colleges and Universities Sue Federal Government Over New SEVP Guidelines

Claremont, Calif. (July 13, 2020)—Pitzer College and 19 other high education institutions in the West have jointly filed a lawsuit against the federal government over its new Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) guidelines.  

Pitzer alumna Debra Wong Yang ’81, a partner at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher’s Los Angeles office, is one of the lead counsel representing the colleges and universities. Yang was Pitzer’s 2004 and inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. She also served on the College’s Board of Trustees from 2008-09.  

The universities and colleges in the coalition are the University of Southern California, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Arizona State University, California Institute of Technology, Chapman University, Claremont McKenna College, Northern Arizona University, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Santa Clara University, Scripps College, Seattle University, Stanford University, St. Mary’s College of California, University of Arizona, University of the Pacific, University of San Diego, University of San Francisco and University of Utah.

Joint coalition lawsuit statement: 

A coalition of 20 of the country’s premier research institutions, liberal arts colleges and public universities in the West sued the federal government today to block the U.S. Department of Homeland Security from revoking visas for international students whose studies will be entirely online in the fall.  

The lawsuit is seeking a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction to stop the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s July 6 directive from being enforced and its policies from being implemented.  

The government’s thoughtless and arbitrary action not only harms these students, but also robs institutions of higher education of the autonomy and flexibility to adapt models of instruction to meet the urgent needs posed by a global pandemic.  

Our more than 50,000 combined international students are an integral part of our communities and essential to our core missions. We are pursuing this case because all international students studying in this country deserve the right to continue their education without risk of deportation. Many of these students, in a sign of their determination and commitment, have stayed in the United States during this international health crisis to ensure their education was not interrupted by returning home and not being granted a visa to return. 

The universities and colleges in the coalition are the University of Southern California, University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Arizona State University, California Institute of Technology, Chapman University, Claremont McKenna College, Northern Arizona University, Pitzer College, Pomona College, Santa Clara University, Scripps College, Seattle University, Stanford University, St. Mary’s College of California, University of Arizona, University of the Pacific, University of San Diego, University of San Francisco and University of Utah.

About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

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