Harvard and MIT, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against Trump’s administration, seeking to halt an order that would ban international students from remaining in the country if they only attend online classes.
Earlier, the immigration authorities announced that students attending colleges that are offering only online teaching due to coronavirus would either transfer to another institution or leave the country.
According to Harvard president Lawrence Bacow, the order came without notice, adding that it amounts to cruelty and recklessness.
“It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms, without regards for the health and safety of students, instructors and others,” Bacow said.
President Donald Trump has been pushing hard to ensure all schools are open, in spite virus concerns.
Earlier, Trump hosted a round table live-streamed on the White House website, which featured educators lobbying for schools to re-open, with many stressing the mental health issues and educational deficits facing students away from the classroom.
Trump, however, threatened to cut funding for schools that refuses to re-open, noting that Germany and other countries were getting kids back to class.
However, the U.S. caseloads were sharply rising in several hotspots across the South, as opposed to countries where the spread was being contained.
Texas, Florida, Georgia and other states were reporting thousands of new cases daily.
The president also issued a tweet disagreeing with the Centres for Disease Control, the main public health institution, responsible for publishing guidelines for schools to re-open.
He pushed back against the expensive protocols and said he would meet with the CDC.
The acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Ken Cuccinelli, argued that the rule of having to take just one in-person class was actually a flexibility, saying in the past foreign students were not allowed to do classes mostly online.
However, Harvard said the immigration order was a bad public policy and dubbed it illegal.