BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — Tucked away behind rows of computers in a CU lab, Tanya Roussy is nearing the end of a long road.
The fourth-year graduate student at CU-Boulder is nearly done with her final experiment, and hoping to graduate with a PHD in Physics next year.
Instead, Roussy is anxiously waiting for guidance from administrators, worried she could be forced to head home to Canada.
“I’ve poured four years of my life into getting this PHD, and the thought that I could get kicked out of the country right before finishing is devastating,” she said.
Monday, the Trump administration announced international students will have to leave the country or face deportation if their colleges or universities switch to virtual classes.
Currently, CU-Boulder is planning a hybrid approach, with some in-person classes, and some virtual classes.
CU expects most, if not all classes following Thanksgiving break, to be held virtually.
“All of my colleagues who teach, or who would be going to in-person, don’t want to be going to in-person because it’s dangerous.” she said. “So it really sucks to be forced to do in-person, just so you don’t get imported.”
Roussy is in a particularly difficult situation, as her schoolwork is now all research-based, with no in-person classes left to complete for her PHD.
“I don’t even take courses anymore, so there’s no guidance at all for students like me who just do research full time in a lab,” she said.
At Denver’s Meyer Law Office, which specializes in immigration law, attorney Joshua Mitson says they’ve been receiving calls from concerned students.
CU, CSU, and UNC are all planning hybrid models, while schools like Metro State are gearing more towards online classes this fall.
“Students will be either be forced to consider transferring, changing status, or returning to their home countries to continue studying,” he says. “I very much think it’s a political stance being taken by ICE. I truly can’t see the benefit that it’s bringing to the United States. It certainly is a huge disadvantage to the International student population.”
There are more than 11,000 international students currently studying in Colorado.
CU released a statement Tuesday regarding this issue.