by Despina Durand
The University of Massachusetts published a statement on February 6, 2015 explaining a new policy that would deny Iranian nationals seeking higher education in “specific programs in the College of Engineering (i.e., Chemical Engineering, Electrical & Computer Engineering, Mechanical & Industrial Engineering) and in the College of Natural Sciences (i.e., Physics, Chemistry, Microbiology, and Polymer Science & Engineering) effective February 1, 2015.”
The statement indicated that this was due to the University’s commitment to providing education for students “who can successfully complete their selected course of study”. The administration indicated that the new policy was in response to a “clarification” in July 2013 by the Department of Homeland Security to a 2012 law passed by Congress that was intended to limit Iran’s engineering capabilities, particularly in the energy sector. The Department of Homeland Security has instituted a policy that denies visas to Iranian nationals who are seeking education in areas that could be applied to the energy sector, including business and computer science, in addition to engineering. While Iranian nationals who applied for student visas prior to the law were “grandfathered in,” students who traveled home, or abroad, or whose visas are up for review have had difficulty securing new visas or returning to the country.
The University took down the statement today after it began circulating on social media. It can be read in full below: