Wednesday, August 3, 2011

University of Northern Virginia raided by ICE (

University of Northern Virginia raided by ICE
Agency says it could withdraw the school’s authorization to admit foreign students

by Gregg MacDonald, Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided a small Annandale college Thursday, seizing computer equipment, hardware and paper documents.

The University of Northern Virginia, 7601 Little River Turnpike, serves about 2,000 students. The school was accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools in 2003 but its accreditation was revoked in 2008, according to ACICS.

The school has many foreign students who entered the United States on education visas to attend the university, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

ICE has threatened to withdraw the school’s authorization to admit foreign students and has made allegations that the school may be in violation of ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program guidelines, said Cori Bassett, an ICE spokeswoman.

“Officials from ICE’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program served UNVA with a notice of intent to withdraw UNVA’s authorization to admit foreign students,” she said, adding that she could not elaborate since the investigation is ongoing.

Repeated calls made to the university’s chancellor, David Lee, 64, on Tuesday were answered by a receptionist at the school who said the chancellor was not in his office and that his voice mail was full and not receiving messages. An email sent to Lee went unanswered.

The school remains open and classes continue to be held as scheduled according to the school’s website, however, faculty and staff do not have full access to all computer systems as equipment and hardware were seized by ICE.

“UNVA would like to remind everyone that rumors have been circulating since last year, but they are just rumors,” Lee wrote in a published statement posted on the school’s website Friday. “Regarding this incident, students should give the most credulity to communication from government authorities and from UNVA administration.”

Bassett said that ICE has set up a local hotline exclusively for UNVA students who may have questions about the raid. It also has information for students on its website. UNVA students also can call the SEVP Response Center at 703-603-3400 for guidance.

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