Fighting Racism and Discrimination FAQ

The United States is in the midst of a nationwide conversation about racial equality, police brutality, systemic racism and grappling with our country’s complicated history.

OISS is responding to concerns we have heard from international students and scholars and encouraging everyone to engage in the conversation about racial justice.

View video recordings of our presentations and find additional resources, article, films, social media accounts to follow, and other resources we recommend.



#STOP AAPI HATE is a movement combatting hate against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.

The Office for International Students and Scholars stands in support and solidarity with our students and scholars who have been devastated by the racial violence against our AAPI and Asian, Pacific Islander and Desi American (APIDA), immigrant, and international student and scholar communities.

We aim to celebrate and support the diversity our students and scholars bring to our community, and work against the forces that aim to create fear and hatred. Racism and ignorance should not and will not be tolerated.

Statements of support from across the Washington University community:

Messages from Washington University Leaders

Center for Diversity and Inclusion APIDA Solidarity Statement

Social Justice and Solidarity Resources (external):

Books, articles and more:

Black Lives Matter Movement

Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters are asking for: justice for Black men, women and children that have been killed, reforms to police tactics and training, and an end to racial discrimination. Protesting is a protected right in the US, and has been a primary way that Americans have stood up against injustice and unfair treatment since the founding of the United States.

Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, has said that at the core of what protesters across the country are demanding is accountability. “They want to see the arrest of all the officers involved [in the murder of George Floyd]. They want to have no more terror, no more police terror in their communities…Everybody wants to be apologized to. Everybody wants to be told, ‘I’m sorry. What I did was wrong. It was unacceptable. We won’t do it again and, in fact, this is how we change.’ […] But grieving communities don’t often receive that kind of apology and acknowledgement,” she said. “We barely get a sorry, we rarely get accountability, and we never get change. So what are people to do?” (Source: ABC News).

The Office for International Students and Scholars stands in support and solidarity with our students and scholars who have been impacted by the interpersonal and systemic racism against people of color.

Do international students with F-1 and J-1 visas have the same rights to freedom of expression as US citizens?

Everyone in the US has the right under the US Constitution to free speech and freedom of assembly. This includes citizens and foreign nationals. That being said, as an international student you have potentially more to lose if you end up in an altercation with the police. If you engage in a protest and consequently something happens where you get arrested, it could lead to serious immigration consequences. For example, the police say that everyone needs to disperse and instead you stay and get arrested. The consequence would depend on the charge; in some cases, your student visa could be revoked or you could be permanently barred from coming to the US.

It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part in the current protests. If you decide to do so, it would be very important to think about safety. Have a plan on how to get there and how to get home. If you sense any escalation or threat of arrests starting, you should leave. (And don’t forget about the global pandemic as well – wear your mask).

Bias Report and Support System (BRSS)

If you have experienced or witnessed incidents of bias, prejudice or discrimination involving a student, please report it on the Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s (CDI) Bias Report and Support System.

The BRSS team will:

Support students who have witnessed or been the target of bias-related incidents.
Refer community members to appropriate university and local resources, and educate reporters on what to expect from each resource.
Inform the university community about the frequency and nature of bias incidents through semester summary reports to drive discussion around making Washington University more diverse and inclusive.

How can I be an ally in the fight for racial equality?

An ally is someone who stands up for others. An ally recognizes that though they are not a member of a marginalized group(s) they support, they make a concerted effort to better understand the struggle. Because an ally might have more privilege, they are powerful voices alongside marginalized ones. For example, an ally could be a Korean person who works to educate others about racism against Black people.

There are many ways to be an ally, it’s important to find a way that feels safe and appropriate for you.

  • Some are posting on social media​
  • Some are protesting in the streets​
  • Some are donating silently​
  • Some are spending money at Black-owned businesses and restaurants
  • Some are educating themselves​
  • Some are having tough conversations with friends and family

How can I learn more?

Get your news from a variety of sources, including Black-owned newspapers and minority staffed websites:

Editorially independent radio and podcasts:


We understand that you, like us, are experiencing the stress of both a pandemic as well as political upheaval in the same space and time. Please know that OISS is here and available for virtual advising appointments to discuss your feelings and concerns. In addition, Habif Health and Wellness Center continues to provide support to students through virtual counseling appointments.