UNVA open for business, classes being held as scheduled

WASHINGTON: A day after authorities in the US raided its offices on charges of fraud, the University of Northern Virginia has said that it is open for business and classes are being held as scheduled.

In a statement, the University said it’s in compliance with both federal and state authorities since it opened its doors in 1998.

“We plan to continue our history and we are in full co-operation with all authorities involved,” it said.

Dozens of officials, from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), entered the Annandale campus of the university on Thursday and took away with them number of boxes full of documents and computer hard drives from its administrative division.

“Officials from ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) served UNVA with a Notice of Intent to Withdraw (NOIW) Unbars authorization to admit foreign students,” ICE spokeswoman Cori W Bassett in a statement on Thursday.

“Yesterday at about 9:30 am agents from ICE, SEVP, and other federal agencies arrived at UNVA to serve and execute a search and seizure warrant.

We want to provide as much information here as we can to dispel rumors,” the university said in a statement.

“Most importantly, we want to emphasize that UNVA is open for business, classes are being held as scheduled, and as long as students attend classes as required they will continue to remain in status,” it said.

Based in Annandale, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, the university is believed to have 2,400 students of which 90 per cent are from India, with an overwhelming majority said to be from Andhra Pradesh.

The university says it is certified to operate in Virginia by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and is accredited by the American University Accreditation Council (AUAC); besides being authorized by the US Government to enroll non-immigrant alien students.

“The warrant included many items such as computers hardware, equipment and paper documents which were all subsequently taken into government control. We were told that they would be returned early next week after they are copied.

Until then, UNVA staff will not have full access to their computer systems or filed including email. UNVA access to SEVIS and other immigration related systems are limited as well,” the University statement said.

The University said that its students are expected to attend classes, and international students who fail to attend are jeopardizing their stay in the US.

“Faculty members will be present to conduct their classes as scheduled and will do so normally, despite the seizure of some teaching materials,” it said.

It also urged its students to stay away from rumor.

“Regarding this incident, students should give the most credulity to communication from government authorities and from UNVA administration,” the statement said. -PTI

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