Pomona Policy Change Draws Criticism from International Students

On the evening of Mar. 23, an email from International Student Advisor Sara Mitchell about changes in Pomona College’s Curricular Practical Training (CPT) policies raised concerns within Pomona's international student community. According to the email, international students will no longer be provided with CPT work authorization required for noncitizens to work in the US unless they are participating in internships affiliated with the Pomona College Internship Program (PCIP).

International Student Mentor Program (ISMP) Head Mentor Chihiro Tamefusa PO’ 16 reached out to administrators after receiving the email on Wednesday evening, and ISMP students held an emergency meeting that night. On Thursday, head mentors met with Mitchell, the Career Development Office (CDO), Pomona's registrar Margaret Adorno, and Associated Students of Pomona College Commissioner for Academic Affairs Christina Tong PO ‘17 to seek clarification and support.

“There was misinformation between the offices about how the [CPT] process was taking place,” said ISMP Head Mentor Saad Nadeem PO ‘17.

According to Nadeem, the only confirmed policy change was made earlier in the school year, when the CDO stopped providing international students with work authorization for PCIP in the spring semester of their first-year because of federal CPT regulations. The policy change mentioned in Mitchell’s email, however, would affect the internship plans of all non-graduating international students starting this summer.

Tamefusa said that there was a “lack of transparency” in “not telling us beforehand that they were even considering these [policy changes]. It really affects all of us.”

Nadeem said that Mitchell has no one to “back her up” in the administration when she advocates for international students, and it is “a resource issue and the support we receive from the college.”

According sent to students on Mar. 24, the 5C International Place staff “was not made aware” of Pomona’s change in CPT authorization restriction and “will do all that [they] can to support Pomona College students.”

The international students are still waiting on a statement of clarification from Pomona administration. Pomona's Dean of Students and Registrar could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.

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