International athletes won't be in jeopardy of losing legal status at CU

Chase Howell

The federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program, along with ICE, ruled on Monday that students enrolled in fully online programs would have to leave the country or transfer to a program that includes in-person classes if they want to legally stay in the United States.

This sent thousands of people across the country into a panic about making sure international students are able to acquire the education they came here for. 

Many professors at CU-Boulder started to set up independent study courses in order to allow international students to at least have a one-credit, in-person class on their schedule this fall. 

Roger Pielke Jr., a professor of various topics at CU-Boulder including sports governance, is one of the instructors that has set up and independent study course for international students. 

"One thing faculty members have the ability to do is offer independent studies, either in person or not in person, anything they want to do," Pielke said. "And that's on us as faculty members. So again, it's not just me and other people in my department have come forward to do this. I just have a larger social media presence. But I put it out there."

Pielke says he has had dozens of students that have shown interest in the class but he was struggling with international athletes. 

"I made sure (the athletic department was) aware that I was doing this because I know they have a number of international students obviously in the athletic program," Pielke said. "It was sent around to a number of staff. One of the staff contacted me from the email, very excited about the opportunity and wanted to put me in touch with a pretty sizable number of international students, some of whom aren't even in the U.S. right now. And then I got a message that said that compliance had put the brakes on it."

Pielke's understanding is one credit class specifically made for international students could put up some red flags. BuffsCountry reached out to compliance for a comment but they have yet to comment. 

The athletic department, however, did respond and they plan on making sure the international athletes are able to take an in-person class. 

"The Athletic Department’s Herbst Academic Center is working closely with all of our international student-athletes to ensure they have the in-person instruction they need for the fall semester to maintain their visas and remain in the United States," the department sent in a statement.
"The CU Athletic Department, including its Office of Compliance Services, does not prevent any student from taking any class, nor could it."

Many things have been moving very quickly for a lot of people over the last week. Whether or not international athletes will be able to take a Pielke's class remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, CU will find a way to keep its international athletes on campus and in the country.