October 1, 2020

A message from President Paino regarding ICE decision on international students

The University of Mary Washington is alarmed by the recent decision from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency barring international students from entering or remaining in the United States in the event that they are able to enroll only online this fall. UMW has and will continue to welcome international students as valuable members of our community. These changes to student visa policies are arbitrary and damaging to the University, our students, and our region.

While the University is and will continue to monitor the situation, ongoing developments, and current legal actions, UMW is also taking specific steps in response:

  • The University, with the assistance of the Attorney General’s Office, is exploring how best to support the Harvard/MIT lawsuit challenging the forthcoming rules that bar online study for international students.
  • The University’s Director of the Center for International Education, Dr. Jose A. Sainz, is closely following developments and has been in communication with and providing support to all UMW students likely to experience impact from these policy changes.
  • International students may continue to avail themselves of academic and social support services such as advising, virtual access to the library, the James Farmer Multicultural Center, and the Talley Center for mental health as long as they are enrolled at UMW.
  • As part of UMW’s plan to reopen this fall, and as documented in our submission to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), UMW has committed to materially supporting international students in meeting federal guidelines for self-quarantine following entry into the United States prior to the start of classes.

To start the 2020-2021 academic year, UMW intends to offer courses delivered in multiple modalities: online, hybrid, and face-to-face. The process of deciding which courses will be taught in which modality is ongoing and evolving as circumstances change. Such choices will always be made in the interest of public health, the well-being of our faculty, staff and students, and our commitment to high quality instruction.

A particularly pernicious aspect of the Department of Homeland Security’s decision is that it irresponsibly pressures institutions to make decisions about teaching modalities that have nothing to do with health or pedagogy. Institutions of higher education must remain flexible in order to best respond to trends in public health data and the wellbeing of students and employees. If circumstances warrant, courses that are currently scheduled to meet face-to-face on campus must have the ability to go online without derailing the educational attainment of international students.

Fall 2020 is clearly an exceptional one for the entire world. Higher education has repeatedly assured students and other stakeholders that this environment is an anomaly and adversity mitigated only when we share responsibility and work together as a community. Yet this ruling seems to indicate that international students are secondary contributors to American education. It is a misguided framework, and most educators will attest to their experience that international students stand equal with U.S. students in their intellectual, social, and financial impact. The richness and diversity of thought brought by a variety of cultures are crucial to a global perspective that benefits all students and this nation. Either we stand together during this pandemic or we are all fundamentally weakened and vulnerable.

UMW, Other Virginia Campuses to Hold Virtual ‘Take Back the Night’

Take Back the Night – an international event that aims to end sexual, relationship and domestic violence in all forms – has had many incarnations since its inception more than 35 years ago, from rallies, marches and performances, to runs, walks and biking events. Now, with the looming presence of COVID-19, the event is going […]

UMW, Other Virginia Campuses Hold Virtual ‘Take Back the Night’

Take Back the Night – an international event that aims to end sexual, relationship and domestic violence in all forms – has had many incarnations since its inception more than 35 years ago, from rallies, marches and performances, to runs, walks and biking events. Now, with the looming presence of COVID-19, the event went virtual for the first time ever. Take Back the Night for 2020 is Take Back the Net.

Held as an annual speak-out and candlelight vigil at Mary Washington for over two decades, the event brings together the University and Fredericksburg communities to share personal stories of resilience and recovery, stand up against sexual assault and gender-based violence, and let survivors know they are not alone.

Unable to assemble in person, UMW Eagles joined electronically with colleges and universities across the Commonwealth for Take Back the Net on Tuesday evening. Spearheaded by the Virginia Campus Task Force, this Zoom gathering featured survivors, advocates and allies, including several Mary Washington students and alumni. The event came as higher education institutions nationwide observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in April. Read more.

Zukor Column Appears in Psychology Publication

Talley Center Director Tev Zukor

A column by Tev Zukor, director of the Talley Center for Counseling Services, appears in a recent edition of  the American Psychological Association publication “Group Psychologist.” His perspective about group psychotherapy can be viewed at https://www.apadivisions.org/division-49/publications/newsletter/group-psychologist/2019/03/group-therapy?_ga=2.94700693.888501561.1556736391-1805288234.1556736391.

UMW Observes National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

The University of Mary Washington observed National Sexual Assault Awareness Month this April with three public events: Fear 2 Freedom, The Clothesline Project and Take Back the Night.   UMW Clothesline Project Fear 2 Freedom kicked off the month of events on April 1. UMW’s Talley Center for Counseling Services worked with Fear 2 Freedom to provide after-care kits for those affected by rape, child abuse, domestic violence and sex-trafficking. Kits prepared by participants during the event were donated to local hospitals, Safe Harbor and the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault. Each kit included a T-shirt, sweatpants, underwear, Freedom bear and storybook, essential toiletries and a personal note. The Clothesline Project  displayed T-shirts on Ball Circle April 8-9. In this nationwide project, students and members of the greater Fredericksburg community who were affected by sexual violence decorated T-shirts that provided a visual testimony to their experiences. Take Back the Night, held on Wednesday, April 8 in front of Lee Hall, encourages survivors and other community members to speak out and take a stand against sexual violence. Take Back the Night takes place nationwide and has been an empowering event for survivors and their supporters for more than 35 years. These events were co-sponsored by Empowerhouse, the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault (RCASA), and by several UMW offices and organizations including Alpha Mu Sigma, Feminists United, the Office of Judicial Affairs and Community Responsibility, Psi Chi Honor Society, Student Anti-Violence Educators (S.A.V.E.), the Talley Center for Counseling Services and the Office of the Title IX Coordinator.

UMW Fear 2 Freedom Assists Sexual Assault Victims

In recognition of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Child Abuse Month, the University of Mary Washington will host Fear 2 Freedom on Wednesday, April 1.   Fear 2 Freedom Bear and Storybook UMW’s Talley Center for Counseling Services works with Fear 2 Freedom to provide after-care kits for those affected by rape, child abuse, domestic violence and sex-trafficking. Kits prepared by participants during the event will be donated to local hospitals, Safe Harbor and the Rappahannock Council Against Sexual Assault. The event also will feature three speakers: UMW President Richard V. Hurley, Psychology Professor Chris Kilmartin and Fear 2 Freedom Founder Rosemary Trible. Fear 2 Freedom is a global nonprofit dedicated to redeeming and restoring the lives of those wounded by sexual assault. The organization partners with universities, hospitals and communities to raise awareness of sexual abuse and assemble after-care kits for victims. Trible, who also is the organization’s president, has dedicated her life to helping those wounded by abuse. In her book Fear to Freedom, she shares her own healing journey after being raped at gunpoint in 1975. The idea of creating an after-care kit rose out of a conversation with Jean Cheek, the coordinator of the Forensic Nurse Examiner Team at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, who explained the process for treating victims of abuse. “Women and children who come for treatment and the PERK exam have their clothes kept for evidence,” said Cheek. “Those abused desperately want to take a shower and often victims have to leave in paper scrubs or hospital gowns. This only adds to their shame and trauma.” The kits are a tangible way to help victims of abuse and support the hospitals. Each kit includes a t-shirt, sweatpants, underwear, Freedom bear and storybook, and essential toiletries. For more information about the event, contact Dei Bayer at the Talley Center for Counseling Services at dbayer@umw.edu or (540) 654-1053.