In Wake Of Protests On US Varsity Campuses, Visa, Aid Issues Plague Indian Students - Vibes Of India

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In Wake Of Protests On US Varsity Campuses, Visa, Aid Issues Plague Indian Students

| Updated: May 5, 2024 13:19

A wave of anxiety and uncertainty is sweeping across Indian students in the US, with their peers on campus grappling with disciplinary action, suspension, and arrests following their pro-Palestine protests. Indian students have an additional burden — the threat of visa revocation, expulsion, even deportation that could scuttle their American dream in one fell swoop.

Whatever their politics, joining the protest, on any side, opens them to consequences they are mindful of, especially given their financial dependence on loans or aid from the university.

Some have opted for an arm’s-length involvement: pitching in with fundraising, placards, spreading the word on campus but steering clear of encampments, where the chances of “getting into trouble” and facing off with the police are higher.

According to a professor at Princeton University, where a dozen people were recently arrested for the protests, expulsion would indeed have an impact on the F-1 visa of any international student.

According to a FAQ on Carnegie Mellon University’s website, “When a student is suspended or dismissed, the student who is in F1 or J1 status cannot legally remain in the US.”

US universities are expected to update an international student’s status in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) within 21 days of suspension or expulsion. Hence, the government is immediately notified of the change in status.

Typically, student gets an opportunity to file an appeal to the university and then the university can review and reconsider based on the severity of the actions of the student. The appeal might work or not work in some cases, which makes it advisable for Indian students not to cross the fine line.

For Indian faculty, too, it is a challenge to navigate the “difference of thought” in classrooms and the risk to their jobs.

It is challenging to maintain peace in the classroom between students who resonate with both sides of the issue… It is difficult for international teachers on contracts as they might not get permanent employment and risk termination.

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