Carnegie Mellon University
UPDATE: Statement from President Jahanian on the Reversal of Proposed ICE Guidelines on July 14:

“We are pleased that, in the face of tremendous opposition from the academic and business communities, and many states, ICE committed to withdraw its proposed new guidelines and revert to the guidelines which have been in place since early in the pandemic. As always, our students, who worked tirelessly with other students across the nation on an amicus brief that personalized the cruelty of the new guidelines, were a particular source of inspiration. While we are cautiously optimistic about this decision, we will remain vigilant as we advocate for all members of our community and continue to safeguard Carnegie Mellon’s mission as a vital engine for creativity, innovation and opportunity.” 

July 14, 2020

Dear Members of the Carnegie Mellon Community:

As I communicated last week, Carnegie Mellon is continuing to challenge recently announced federal measures that would potentially impose undue and deeply burdensome restrictions on our international students and our university. Since my last message, there have been a number of developments regarding CMU’s advocacy as well as increased efforts across higher education and state and local governments. I am writing to update you on the following actions: 

  • CMU’s Amicus Briefs: As mentioned last week, we filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit that Harvard and MIT brought against the Department of Homeland Security and ICE, joining 59 higher education institutions across the nation. That document is now available online. We are also filing amicus briefs in cases filed in other states on this issue. We continue to monitor this situation daily, in order to ensure that we are doing everything we can to assure a successful result with broad application. After consulting with legal experts, we believe this continues to be the right course of action; however, we stand prepared for our own legal action should the circumstances warrant it.
  • Supporting Pennsylvania Lawsuit: We have actively engaged with State Attorney General Josh Shapiro and his team surrounding the larger strategy of CMU’s response and the response of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Yesterday, AG Shapiro announced that Pennsylvania is joining 17 other states and the District of Columbia in filing a lawsuit against the federal government as a result of these disruptive guidelines. To support this legal action, we are providing the AG’s office with a declaration on the potential negative impact on CMU and our students.
  • Leadership of our GSA: I wish to commend CMU’s Graduate Student Assembly for their extraordinary work and leadership. Their advocacy was a major driver in the filing of an amicus brief by graduate students across the nation. That document also is available online. Although the stories provided in that brief are anonymous, three of our students were included among the 13 examples highlighting the potential negative impact of the proposed new guidelines. On a related note, as a result of GSA’s advocacy, Ryan Muzzio, a CMU Ph.D. student, has been invited to testify in front of the Research and Technology Subcommittee of the House Space, Science and Technology Committee. That hearing will focus broadly on the impact of COVID-19 on our nation’s research capabilities and how Congress can best support universities and national labs at this critical time.
  • Letter of Opposition to DHS Secretary Wolf: Carnegie Mellon has joined the American Council on Education (ACE) and more than 80 colleges and universities in signing a letter of opposition to DHS Acting Secretary Chad Wolf and urging him to withdraw these guidelines. The letter will be submitted by the end of this week.
  • Outreach to PA Congressional Delegation:With our fellow Pennsylvania universities, we also coordinated joint outreach to the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation to urge them to write to the DHS Secretary. So far, nine of them have sent letters, including Senator Bob Casey, Congressman Mike Doyle and Congressman Conor Lamb.
  • City and Local Advocacy: I am grateful to Mayor Bill Peduto and the City of Pittsburgh for joining 25 other municipalities in filing an amicus brief  in the lawsuit brought by Harvard and MIT. The city and our local business community have been powerful advocates on behalf of our students, our universities and their positive impact on the region.

On behalf of our leadership team, let me express our gratitude for your support of these vitally important efforts.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman Chair