2021 Presidential Inauguration

The 59th Presidential Inauguration: Why Is It So Important?

The 59th Presidential Inauguration for the 46th President (President-Elect Joe Biden) will be taking place on Wednesday, January 20th. Per the Constitution, the day of the Inauguration will always take place on January 20th unless January 20th falls on a Sunday, then it will take place the following day on January 21st. The President-Elect is sworn in by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as the new President of the United States.

However, for many Americans, including the rest of the world, the upcoming American Presidential Inauguration will have much more significance than ever before in light of the recent violence that has taken place at the U.S. Capitol. Historically, the Presidential Inauguration has always represented two extremely important facets of the American Democracy: a peaceful transfer of power and continuity of our system of government as prescribed by the Constitution.

History of the Presidential Inauguration & Swearing-In

The first Inauguration Ceremony took place in New York City in 1789 and began with our first President, George Washington. Washington established many of the traditions that we currently practice today, such as the incoming President placing their left hand on a Bible during the swearing-in as well as the many festivities that occur after the President is sworn in.  Interestingly, not all presidents have been sworn in with a Bible and actually chose different texts to place their left hand on, including a law text and a Roman Catholic Missal (a small book of biblical verses and hymns for a singular church service.) The most important part of the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony consists of the swearing-in/Oath of Office of the new President by the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

What is the “Oath of Office”?

The President takes an “Oath of Office,” which is mandated by Article II, Section One of the Constitution, by placing their left hand on a Bible while raising their right hand in the air and then proceeding to recite the following Oath: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Technically, even before the new President takes their Oath of Office and is sworn in, the Vice-President will have taken the following Oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

This Oath is also recited to swear in other federal employees such as Senators and Congressional Representatives.

Schedule of Events for the Inauguration Ceremony

Since the very first Presidential Inauguration, there has always been a “ceremony” attached to the official swearing-in that features several festivities and a parade on Pennsylvania Avenue. At a typical Inauguration Ceremony, excluding 2021 due to Covid-19 crowd restrictions and security concerns, there is usually a crowd of approximately 200,000 attendees to witness the Oath of Office and the ensuing events throughout the day. Below is the official schedule for the 59th Presidential Inauguration Ceremony provided by PBS (KQED):

  • 11 a.m. – Joe Biden arrives at the U.S. Capitol.
  • 11:15 a.m. – The inauguration program begins.
    • Invocation – Father Leo J. O’Donovan
    • Pledge of Allegiance – Andrea Hall
    • National Anthem – Lady Gaga
    • Poetry Reading – Amanda Gorman
    • Musical Performance – Jennifer Lopez
  • 12 p.m. – Biden is sworn in as 46th president.
  • 2:30 to 3p.m. – Biden lays a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, President George W. Bush and Laura Bush and President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton.
  • 3:15 to 3:30 p.m. – Joe and Jill Biden receive a presidential military escort to the White House.
  • TBD – The virtual “Parade Across America” begins once the Bidens enter the White House and will feature communities around the country.
  • 8:30 p.m. – Actor Tom Hanks hosts a 90-minute special featuring remarks by Biden and Harris and performances by Demi Lovato, Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons, Jon Bon Jovi, and others.

What is Different About This Year’s Inauguration?

  1. As mentioned above, Covid-19 restrictions as well as the recent uprising at the U.S. Capitol have led to a few significant changes to the normally scheduled events during the Presidential Inauguration. Traditionally, the outgoing President and his family invite the incoming President and his family to the White House for a friendly breakfast, which will not take place this year due to multiple reasons.
  2. After breakfast, the families travel together to the Inauguration as a symbolic display of solidarity. However, this year’s Inauguration will be different in that the outgoing President has announced that he will not attend the incoming President’s swearing-in, which would make him the fourth President in U.S. history not to attend their successor’s swearing-in.
  3. The crowd attending the Inauguration will be significantly smaller than ever before. While most Inaugurations are attended by nearly 200,00 spectators, this year’s Inauguration only permits Congressmen to bring one guest to the Inauguration due to Covid-19 crowd restrictions and severe security concerns.
  4. The Parade on Pennsylvania Avenue as well as events taking place later in the evening will be virtual and available online.

Looking Forward

Presidential Inaugurations are one of the many staples of the American Democratic system and will remain to represent a peaceful transfer of power. As a country, this smooth transition from one democratically elected official to another is what differentiated the U.S. from many other countries after its inception over 200 years ago. It is imperative that we remember from where and from whom we come as a nation, and that we have always been a fluid and vast tapestry of cultures and creeds, but ultimately we are all considered to be Americans.


USA.gov: https://www.usa.gov/inauguration

PBS: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/your-guide-to-inauguration-day

History.com: https://www.history.com/news/presidential-inauguration-history-photos







Second Stimulus Payments & How They Apply to Nonresidents

Dear International Students,

The Sprintax team has graciously provided an overview of the second stimulus payment in their latest blog post to help with questions you may have in terms of how the additional stimulus payments could affect international students/nonresidents.

Sprintax Blog Post on the Second Stimulus Payment

In the above blog post, Sprintax runs through topics such as:

  • Who is eligible to keep/receive the second stimulus payment
  • Who is not eligible to keep/receive the second stimulus payment
  • What to do if you have received the payment in error
  • What to do if you already amended your tax return, returned the first stimulus payment but have now received the second payment
  • Other useful Q and A around the topic


Sprintax & ISSS

Reflections on 2020 & Happy Holidays from ISSS

Peace on Earth Holiday Christmas Cards (10 Pk) | Tree-Free | Shop Eco-Friendly Cards!

Dear International Students and Scholars,

It is difficult to capture 2020, a year filled with ongoing challenges for everyone globally, in a few sentences. Amidst all the hurdles and difficulties of dealing with a pandemic and the constant ever changing immigration rules and regulations, all of us in International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) have continued to persevere and to push forward, empowered with the goal of helping serve your needs. 

We were fortunate to onboard our newest team member, Suzanne Pendergrass, Assistant Director of International Student Services, right before we moved to telework. The entire ISSS team continued to think innovatively to engage you and to make each of you, our number one priority. We adjusted our schedules, processing routines and practices, and transitioned to all virtual events, including our spring 2020 and fall 2020 celebration of our international graduates. We phased out our newsletter and introduced our ISSS Views and News blog, creating a more holistic and interactive experience for all. We welcomed our new Global Spartans through a virtual Global Spartan Welcome and have just launched our new international peer mentorship program, iSucceed!, in an effort to provide more peer to peer support for all of you. Our ISSS student leaders (Global Leaders and Advisory Board members) have done a tremendous job of coming up with new and creative ways to connect, including a series of fun social events over the winter break, which we hope you will attend. Finally, we are thrilled to have launched our inaugural Global Spartan scholarship this fall and look forward to continuing to recognize some of you for your outstanding contributions to SJSU and our global community.

As you can see from this brief recap, amidst all the challenges of 2020, the ISSS team sought new ways to stay engaged and to support you and your needs. We continued to enjoy and benefit from your presence, albeit virtually, as part of our Spartan community. We value each and every one of you and commend you on your accomplishments, resilience and commitment to succeed. We are strengthened by your different backgrounds and perspectives and treasure the diversity you bring to our already multicultural and dynamic community.

On behalf of all of us in ISSS, I wish you a restful and peaceful holiday season and break. I sincerely hope that the time off will provide a respite from the uncertainties and stresses of 2020 and allow you to start fresh with renewed energy and goals for 2021. Congratulations on finishing the fall semester and for all you have accomplished in 2020, despite the extenuating circumstances. 

As a reminder, ISSS will be closed for the holidays from December 24th, with the last advising appointments taking place from 9-11am on December 23rd. We will resume normal business hours on Monday, January 4th. We look forward to our continued engagement with each and every one of you, in the new year. Wishing you joy and peace in 2021!

Warm regards,

Parinaz Zartoshty, Director of ISSS

ICE Scam Alert!

For resources on current scams and how to report a scam, please visit our Scam Alerts page or you can choose to schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor.

Scammers are impersonating ICE Agents across the country and specifically targeting international students who have valid (F-1/J-1) status. The scammers will first spoof a local ICE phone number, call the student from this spoofed ICE telephone number and tell the student that their status is in jeopardy. The student is then told that they can either proceed to a specific ICE location or pay a disclosed amount to resolve the issue. The scammers have been reported to be very knowledgeable in immigration (F-1/J-1) terminology and can therefore be quite convincing.

Please remember that the government will not call you if they wish to get into contact with you. 

Stay safe!

Warm Regards,

The ISSS Staff


Recently, there have been reports of SJSU F-1 students who were targets of scam calls. The students were called by scammers claiming to be representatives from DHS (The Department of Homeland Security), who accused the students of failing to provide their Alien Registration Number (A-Number). The scammers proceeded to ask for Passport information, date of birth, bank name, and physical address. The Alien Registration Number (A-Number) can be your USCIS number if you received an EAD card in the past, or the number that you’re assigned when you apply for a Green Card. Many students simply do not have an A-Number. The students are then told that in order to avoid deportation, they must pay a fine by loading money onto an eBay gift card and provide it to the scammers.

DO NOT acquiesce to the scammers’ demands should you receive a call from “DHS.” Even if the number seems legitimate and the Caller ID on your phone clearly indicates “Department of Homeland Security” (DHS), this is known as “Telephone Spoofing.” This occurs when scammers pose as representatives calling on behalf of government agencies and will manipulate their Caller ID information to appear as if they are really calling from DHS, USCIS, SEVP, IRS, etcetera. THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT CALL YOU! If you receive a call from USCIS, DHS, SEVP, SSA (Social Security Administration), it will most likely be a scam. Should a specific government agency need to reach out to you, they will send you a letter in the mail. In extremely serious and rare situations, they will physically come to your residence. Calling is extremely rare. 

Please hang up, block the number, and report the scam call to us if this has happened to you! If you provided personal information such as Passport, bank account, or other sensitive information, then please refer to our Scam Alerts webpage for the next steps to take on how to report a scam properly to the FBI. You may also schedule an appointment with an International Student Advisor.

We strongly recommend that all students review the Scam Alerts webpage to find out about the various scams that International Students have reported to our office over the years, including several valuable resources on how to prevent becoming a victim of a scam.


The ISSS Staff