June 10, 2020

Dear International Students and Scholars:

UC Berkeley has a rich tradition of international engagement with institutions and researchers from all over the world who are committed to the advancement of research, scholarship, and service. We’d like to take this opportunity to reinforce our firm belief that the international student and scholar community including all Chinese students and researchers are vital to the intellectual life of the university and to our teaching and research mission as stated in a letter to the international community sent out only three weeks ago. We remain committed to protecting these interests. As you know, we are experiencing unprecedented events both within the U.S. and globally. Regrettably, as a result of geopolitics, decisions are being made in Washington, D.C. that are having a negative impact on international higher education and on our local community.

The University of California system and UC Berkeley continue to monitor and advocate for sound legislation around immigration matters. The recent Presidential Proclamation that puts limits on visas issued to Chinese graduate students (not undergraduates), post doctoral researchers, and other visiting researchers with ties to certain Chinese universities or the military is not one that we were anticipating. We recognize that this proclamation sends a negative message to members of the Chinese students and scholar community and we understand and share your concerns. We will monitor its implementation to ensure that there is minimal impact on our campus community, and we will advocate when we can on a case by case basis for denials that we believe should not be related to this initiative. In the meantime, we are focusing our advocacy efforts to protect the OPT and H-1B program, as its elimination will have wider negative implications for higher education and the international community.

We also are aware of isolated incidents where those who appear to be of Asian descent have been the target of verbal insults. We strongly oppose all acts of hatred that are perpetrated against members of our community. They are harmful to all of us as it affects the wellbeing of everyone. As such, we adhere to our  Principles of Community, and are committed to ensuring that we provide a supportive and welcoming environment for all students and visiting scholars.If you or anyone you know has experienced such an event, you should feel free to contact UCPD and the Office for the Prevention of Harassment and Discrimination (OPHD).

As always, we are in close communication with Director Emmanuel of the Berkeley International Office (BIO) and are well aware of the impact that COVID-19 and the many executive orders as well as visa challenges has had on that critically important office. We encourage our international students and researchers who have additional questions about this proclamation or other international issues to contact BIO at or Effective July 1, BIO will be transferring into the Division for Academic Planning to facilitate coordination with the Global Engagement Office (  

We value your presence and you are welcome here!


Lisa Alvarez-Cohen
Vice Provost for Academic Planning and Senior International Officer

Randy Katz
Vice Chancellor for Research

Berkeley International Office

Our mailing address is:
Berkeley International Office
2150 Shattuck Ave Ste 500
Berkeley, CA 94704-1345

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