Immigration Law

Is the UMass Amherst Ban on Iranian Science Students Overkill?

"A new policy stating that the University of Massachusetts at Amherst will no longer admit students from Iran to certain engineering- and science-related programs has attracted criticism and stirred questions about the extent of universities’ obligations under U.S. sanctions law.  In a policy dated Feb. 6, the university said that it will no longer admit Iranian nationals to a range of programs: chemical engineering, chemistry, electrical and computer engineering, mechanical and industrial engineering, microbiology, physics, and polymer science and engineering.  The university cites as its rationale a sanctions law passed in 2012 that restricts Iranian citizens seeking to prepare for a career in that country’s energy or nuclear science sectors from getting visas to study in the United States. ... [C]ritics of UMass’s policy say the institution’s interpretation of the law is overly broad and are concerned that other universities will follow its lead.  They point out that while the 2012 statute tasks the State Department with rejecting student visa applications in certain cases, it doesn’t specify anything about universities’ admissions policies.  In other words, it leaves enforcement up to the government, not the universities." - Inside Higher Ed, Feb. 16, 2016.  See also here and here.