Recent events have laid bare the persistent and pernicious inequality at the root of American society. The killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was an outrage and a tragedy. The righteous protests that have followed highlight not only the stunning frequency of acts of violence against Black Americans—often at the hands of the very people charged with protecting their safety—but also the deep-seated racism, oppression, and prejudice that people of color confront every day.
As many others have already stated, it is our collective responsibility to make good on IU’s commitment to diversity and equity. We must do everything within our power to ensure that all of our students are able to pursue their academic goals in a safe, supportive, and inclusive environment.
It is also our responsibility to interrogate our own professional roles, and to locate whatever opportunities they provide to advance equality. At IU Global, those opportunities reside largely in expanding the access of IU students, faculty, and staff to international and intercultural learning experiences.
The reason those experiences have such transformative potential is not just that they equip students with the tools they need to thrive in a global economy (although they do that). It is that they help students to understand the particularity, and the limits, of their own experience. That critical capacity enables them to develop a personal commitment to the principle that all people, in all societies, are entitled to dignity, respect, and security.
One of the most powerful forms of international education—full immersion in a foreign culture through long-term study abroad—is not accessible to all students. Travel restrictions imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic will make it even less so, at least for a time. But other forms are available, including many facilitated by the remote technology with which we are now more familiar. We hope that you will explore the resources available on our website and join us in working to offer them to as many students as possible, whatever their campus, discipline, or degree program.
If you are interested in learning more about this work and keeping the conversation going, please join us for an open forum on June 15 from 12-1 p.m.
Yours, Hannah Buxbaum Vice President for International Affairs
March 31, 2020
Hannah Buxbaum, vice president for International Affairs, shares a video message with Hoosiers worldwide.
Description of the video:
0:00:00.890,0:00:05.740 Greetings from Bloomington. I'm speaking to you today, not from our beautiful campus,
0:00:05.740,0:00:11.420 but from my house. Because Indiana like so many other areas is now under a stay at home
0:00:11.420,0:00:18.070 order to try to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Our lives have changed recently,
0:00:18.070,0:00:24.010 so dramatically and so abruptly, and in ways that have been particularly challenging for
0:00:24.010,0:00:29.470 our international community. Many of our international alumni live in countries that have already
0:00:29.470,0:00:34.870 been hard hit by the pandemic. Lock-downs and travel restrictions have all but eliminated
0:00:34.880,0:00:40.460 study abroad and other important international programs. Our current international students
0:00:40.460,0:00:45.350 and scholars have had to confront difficult decisions about whether to stay here or return home,
0:00:45.350,0:00:50.620 and admitted students are worried about whether they will be able to start their programs with us
0:00:50.620,0:00:57.620 in the fall. We want you to know that global engagement is an indestructible part
0:00:57.620,0:01:04.790 of IU's mission. We are committed to providing ongoing service and support to our international
0:01:04.790,0:01:11.130 students and scholars, current and future, even if for now only remotely. We are also
0:01:11.130,0:01:17.410 committed to maintaining our deep connections with international alumni and our partners.
0:01:17.410,0:01:24.000 We may be distancing ourselves physically at this time but in no other sense are we distant from you
0:01:24.269,0:01:26.350 We hope you are safe and well.
March 23, 2020
The COVID-19 outbreak has necessitated a set of responses—by the U.S. government, by foreign governments, and by IU—that have completely upended life at our university. All of us have been affected, but you—our international students, scholars, and colleagues—especially so. Many of you are from countries that have already been hard hit by the pandemic, and have had to watch families and friends suffer through that experience from afar. The travel restrictions that many countries have put in place are particularly problematic for non-U.S. residents, especially given the uncertainty regarding their duration. And we understand that many of you are concerned about the consequences of all of this for your own academic progress.
In the face of all of this, you have each had to make difficult decisions regarding your own particular situation, including the decision whether to stay here or to return home. We know that each of you is confronting different personal and academic considerations, and we are absolutely committed to helping you make the best decision possible. For those of you who wish to stay, we are delighted that the petitions of international students to stay in IU housing have been approved.
Most importantly, though, we want to let you know how much we value your presence in our community. You make our university stronger—by adding to the perspectives, experiences, and cultures that enrich our learning community; by participating in our research mission; and simply as friends and colleagues. We wish to help you navigate this complicated and challenging environment, and our international offices stand ready to assist you and to provide guidance and information as quickly as it becomes available.
Please know that you are cared for, thought of, and forever a welcome part of Indiana University.
Hannah Buxbaum Vice President of International Affairs