Message to the USC International Community

The events of the past two weeks, starting with the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers in Minnesota, have exposed yet again the ongoing harm caused by prejudice, discrimination, and violence within our society. That this horrific incident is the latest of numerous cases involving targeted violence toward members of the Black community raises difficult questions about how to combat systemic racism.

As an office that serves USC’s international students and scholars, we understand first-hand the value and importance of diversity. We expect that every individual who joins our university community, regardless of race, or national origin, or any other aspect of their identity, will be able to have full access to a positive USC experience, free from bias and discrimination of any kind. The pain and anguish felt so directly by those victimized by racial violence degrades the character and promise of our nation. Simply put, racism has no place in our society or on our campus.

We also understand that so much more work is needed to make real progress in combatting racism and other injustice. One action anyone can take, as has been demonstrated so widely in recent days, is to speak up and stand together against hate, systemic violence, and racial prejudice. It is heartening to know that the response to the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery-and so many before them-has been seen on a global level. Protests around the world are adding to the chorus of voices stating that such violence is never, ever acceptable.

As members of USC’s international community, your voices are an important part of this dialogue. Some have asked us recently if international students could participate in protests, join organizations that combat racism, or donate money to organizations making a difference. The short answer is YES. Your immigration status does not mean you have to remain silent while others speak out. In the coming days, OIS will share guidance, resources and detailed information about participation in such activities, from an international student and scholar perspective.

Finally, if you are a USC student and feel distressed by recent events, USC Student Health has extended a one-time service eligibility to students (including recent Spring 2020 graduates) for urgent counseling on any issue, as well as COVID-19 related care. Let’s Talk: International Student Edition  is also continuing through the summer and provides students with an opportunity to spend 30 minutes with a clinician from USC Counseling & Mental Health. Please utilize these resources as they are there to help you get through this difficult period.