SPDC Opposes SEVP’s Modifications - July 10, 2020

Colleagues and students, 

On behalf of the School of Planning, Design and Construction, we strongly oppose the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s (SEVP) modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online courses during the fall 2020 semester. 

The modification jeopardizes the residency and visa status of F-1 students taking full course loads online to stay legally in the United States this fall. We found this modification brutal, cruel and penalizing towards hard-working international students, as well as faculty and staff in SPDC who have been working tirelessly to ensure that learning still continues with quality and care in the midst of the pandemic 

The School of Planning, Design and Construction pledges support to our international students as we work through this issue, both to protect visa and residency status by ensuring compliance with this modification and to minimize COVID-19 exposure risks.  

While we are required to comply with this federal rule, we believe that it is discriminatory and directly conflicts with our School values and mission; this specifically contravenes two of our core values: 1) We nurture a culture of respect, trust, support and empowerment; and 2) We embrace diversity, equity and inclusion.”  

This action has placed undue stress on our international students, an essential component of the School, and compliance with in-person instruction creates additional challenges for maintaining public health. 

The SPDC Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee shares this message:  

We strongly reject this and any other attempt to marginalize our international SPDC student community. We want our international students to know they are respected, valued and welcomed by SPDC. Our classrooms, laboratories, studios and meeting spaces would not be the same without your presence. 

You are vital contributors to achieving the SPDC mission of advancing knowledge, preparing innovative leaders, and supporting the practice of planning, design and construction. Whether we are in-person or virtual, you are key to the creation of sustainable and healthy built, natural and virtual environments. 

SPDC Director Ming-Han Li shares this message 

I was an international student in the United States during 1993 and 2002, pursuing two master’s degree and a Ph.D., as well as accumulating teaching credentials. Coming from Taiwan, I experienced firsthand the challenges of being a nonimmigrant student. If I were to face the challenges imposed on today’s international students, I would not have had the opportunity to achieve all my goals, including directing the School of Planning, Design and Construction at MSU. 

For international students, we will do our best to accommodate your needs so that you can accomplish your goals. 


Ming-Han Li 

Professor and School Director 


SPDC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee:  

Noah Durst – Co-Chairperson 

Mary Beth Graebert – Co-Chairperson 

Barbara Andersen 

George H. Berghorn 

Rex LaMore 

Marcus Metoyer 

Paige O'Keefe 

Tongbin Teresa Qu 


School of Planning, Design and Construction 
Michigan State University