Harvard, MIT Sue Trump Govt Over Order Revoking Visas For Foreign Students

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 22, 2020, general view of Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. – US President Donald Trump lashed out at Harvard University on July 7, 2020, calling its decision to move all its courses online in the fall due to the coronavirus pandemic “ridiculous.” Maddie Meyer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP.

 

Harvard and MIT asked a court Wednesday to block an order by President Donald Trump’s administration threatening the visas of foreign students whose entire courses have moved online because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The universities’ lawsuit was in response to an announcement Monday by the US Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) that the affected students must leave the country or transfer to a school offering in-person tuition.

“We will pursue this case vigorously so that our international students, and international students at institutions across the country, can continue their studies without the threat of deportation,” Harvard President Lawrence Bacow said in a statement.

ICE said in its announcement the State Department would not issue visas to students enrolled in programs that are fully online for the fall semester and such students would not be allowed to enter the country.

Universities with a hybrid system of in-person and online classes will have to show that foreign students are taking as many in-person classes as possible, to maintain their status.

The measure was seen as a move by the White House to put pressure on educational institutions that are adopting a cautious approach to reopening amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“The order came down without notice — its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness,” Bacow said.

“It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors and others,” he added.

The universities say in their lawsuit that the order would harm students “immensely,” both personally and financially.

It describes the order as “arbitrary and capricious.”

The plaintiffs ask that the court issue a temporary restraining order and “permanent injunctive relief” preventing the policy being enforced.

They also ask that the order be declared unlawful, that their fees are covered, and that they receive any other relief that the court deems appropriate.

The lawsuit, filed in a Massachusetts district court, lists the defendants as ICE and the United States Department of Homeland Security.

Most US colleges and universities have not yet announced their plans for the fall semester but Harvard University has said all its classes for the 2020-21 academic year will be conducted online “with rare exceptions.”

It says packed classrooms would endanger the health of students and teachers.

Trump has branded the decision “ridiculous.”

AFP

 

Senate Seeks Replacement Of NERC Chairman-Designate

NERC, Professor Akintunde Akinwande
Professor Akintunde Akinwande

The Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to replace the nomination of ‎ Professor Akintunde Akinwande as Chairman-designate of Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) Governing Board over his refusal to appear before the Senate Committee for screening.

The Senate took this decision after it adopted a recommendation by its Committee on Power and Steel Development that President Buhari should replace his nomination with another person.

Professor Akinwande had written to the committee informing the Chairman that he would honour the Senate’s invitation for screening after clearing with his current employer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.

The Senate however confirmed other members of governing board of the NERC.

‎They are Sanusi Garba as Vice Chairman (North West), Nathan Rogers Shatti, Commissioner (North East), Dr. Moses Arigu, Commissioner (North Central), Dafe Akpedeye, Commissioner (South-East), Dr. Musilliu Oseni, Commissioner (South West).

NERC Job: Professor Akinwande To Honour Screening After MIT Clearance

NERC, Professor Akintunde AkinwandeNominated Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), Professor Akintunde Akinwande, says he will honour an invitation for screening by the Nigerian Senate after clearing with his current employer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.

A statement by the President’s spokesman, Femi Adesina, disclosed that Professor Akinwande had said he did not turn down the offer by President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to Adesina, the declaration is contained in a letter dated October 26, 2016, addressed to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel Development and Metallurgy, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and sent through the Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang.

The letter reads in part: “News reports in Nigeria that I have rejected President Buhari’s nomination to be Chairman of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission have been brought to my attention.

“I have the greatest respect for President Buhari. I am fully behind the change he has brought and is bringing to the way government business is conducted in Nigeria.

“I am deeply honoured that Mr President and his team thought me worthy for this important national assignment and sought me out for it.

“I am a tenured professor of electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“As such, I am contractually constrained to seek formally the consent of the university for a leave of absence before presenting myself to the Senate for screening and if confirmed take on the assignment.”

Professor Akinwande apologised to the Senate Committee for not showing up for the screening process scheduled for Tuesday, October 25, noting that it was not out of disrespect for the institution.

The academic said he would be available for the screening after clearance from the MIT.