US university students ordeal ends finally

Payal Ganguly / ENS
Sep 23, 2012 at 07:54am IST

The unremitting agony of students of the Herguan University at California in the United States has ended.

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department of the US has said it received the university’s response, albeit on an e-mail address different from the one prescribed.

The glitch was noticed well after the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) had issued a withdrawal notice and the deactivated student records placed on Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).

In a press release dated September 19, the ICE accepted the error and will take a decision on withdrawing SEVP support following discussions based on the university’s response.

The ICE website displayed the following information: “On September 19, attorneys for Herguan University informed SEVP that Herguan University had in fact responded to the Notice of Intent to Withdraw issued Aug. 2. While the response was not forwarded to the proper email address, SEVP accepts the university’s response as timely filed and will adjudicate the Notice of Intent to Withdraw on the merits of the case. The Withdrawal on Notice issued Sept. 18 is hereby rescinded. All Herguan University student records that were terminated or placed in canceled status in SEVIS will be returned to active and initial status as applicable.”

Around 400 of the 450 students enrolled in the US university hail from Andhra Pradesh and were lured by the opportunity to work and pursue their courses in the distance learning mode.

In a message posted on its homepage, the university informed its students of the temporary relief and issued a notice for classes to be conducted over the weekend from September 21 to 23.

The university homepage carried the following message punctuated as follows: “Dear students, SEVP has accepted our response to their notice and reinstated your I-20’s. Classes scheduled for this weekend Sept 21, 22, 23 will occur. If you are registered, please make sure you attend.  Please don’t be late!”

The university conducted its graduation ceremony on August 26 despite the uncertainty facing the future of the students. It continues to claim that since it is duly approved by the education department of California, it can continue to issue I-20s to international students seeking admission to the university. Despite the ongoing tussle with ICE, the university has already announced admissions for the fall semester in 2013.

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