University of Maryland President Darryll Pines addressed the campus community in an email Wednesday, announcing a new Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator position and expressing solidarity with international students.
The announcements come one week into Pines’ time as university president and follows the release of new U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regulations restricting online course enrollment for international students on F-1 visas during the fall semester.
In response to ICE’s restrictions, Pines wrote that the university is working with Congressional representatives to protect both undergraduate and graduate international students, while also considering alternative options for students.
Individual colleges and schools will be directed to ensure more in-person instruction for international students, Pines added.
“This is troubling, to say the least,” Pines wrote in the email. “I stand in solidarity with our international students, who are highly valued for everything they contribute to our diverse and vibrant community.”
Over the past few days, students have called for the university to end its $625,000 contract with ICE, which covers up to 25, two-day training sessions led by university researchers. The researchers present terrorism-related findings to homeland security investigators.
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The ADA coordinator position, which was announced in partnership with Georgina Dodge, diversity and inclusion vice president, aims to provide “another layer of support, protections, and accountability.” The role will be separate from the university’s disabilities services office, Pines wrote.
The university is also offering free COVID-19 testing for employees, graduate assistants and students, Pines wrote. Testing will take place at Maryland Stadium on July 14 and July 15. More information, including how to make an appointment, is available on the university’s website.
Pines also shared that, after a yearlong review, the university’s accreditation has been reaffirmed. Last year, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education placed it’s accreditation on a “warning” status due to concerns about its transparency and governance structure following football player Jordan McNair’s death from heatstroke in 2018.