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Articles / Campus Life / The Higher Ed Community Responds to the Invasion of Ukraine

The Higher Ed Community Responds to the Invasion of Ukraine

Joy Bullen
Written by Joy Bullen | March 1, 2022
Screen Shot 2022-03-02 at 9.38.10 AM
Photo courtesy of Amy Drucker

Students, Professors and Institutions React to the Crisis in Ukraine

As the situation in Ukraine escalates, students, professors and higher-ed institutions around the world respond. Here are just some of the ways the higher ed community is impacted by the conflict and rallied in support of Ukraine.

We will continue to update this article as we hear news from more students, schools, or higher ed institutions.

Kharkiv University Targeted in Attack on March 2nd

Kharkiv National University was the target of a Russian missile strike on the morning of March 2nd. The university was founded in 1805 in a decree signed by Russian Czar Alexander I.

MIT Ends Research Program With Russian University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has ended the MIT Skoltech program with Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) in Russia. The program, which has existed since 2011, involves joint research projects with faculty from both MIT and Skoltech.

In an announement posted on on MIT Skoltech program’s website, the university said, “This step is a rejection of the actions of the Russian government in Ukraine…Though we must end the relationship, we are proud of MIT’s work with Skoltech and the research it has produced over the past decade. We affirm our steadfast belief in our colleagues at Skoltech: They are fellow scholars who have devoted themselves to an ethos of openness and who have contributed their own expertise and knowledge to build a unique and pioneering academic center in Russia.”

University Presidents Organize to Support Impacted Students in the U.S.

The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration has called for temporary protected status (TPS) and Special Student Relief (SSR) for Ukrainian students studying in the U.S. According to InsideHigherEd, this change would allow Ukrainian students to obtain work permits in the U.S. and maintain their F-1 status, preventing possible deportation if it is not safe to return home. The Presidents’ Alliance has also put together a list of resources to help universities supporting Ukrainian students.

The Alliance's members include the presidents of over 500 colleges and universities, including, Georgetown, Northeastern, Babson, and the Cal State schools.

Concern for the Safety of Students and Academics Grow

The Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) in the UK and Scholars at Risk, an organization affiliated with multiple institutions including New York University and Harvard, expressed concern for students and academics in the Ukraine, many of whom have joined civilian resistance groups and are actively fighting or training to fight for their country, as well as academics in Russia who oppose the government's actions. The organizations both released statements saying they were working to figure out the best ways to provide support.

African Students Face Racism At the Ukrainian Border

African students who are studying in the Ukraine turned to Twitter to make public the racism they are encountering at the border at they try to live the country. According toInside Higher Ed, a student from Guinea who was fleeing a university in Ukraine reported, “They stopped us at the border and told us that Blacks were not allowed...but we could see white people going through.”

Ukranian High School Students Plead For Peace

A group of Ukrainian high school students released a video on Twitter in multiple languages, pleading for peace.

American Students Hold Rallies in Support of Ukraine

College students across the United States are rallying in support of Ukraine. Protests occurred or are planned at many institutions, including Penn State, West Virginia University, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and University of Michigan.

Academics Share Their Thoughts On History – and the Future

Paul Poast, a professor of Political Science at University of Chicago whose work focuses on foreign policy and war, outlined the five most likely scenarios to unfold in the aftermath of the Russian invasion. According to an interview with Poast, the five scenarios include Russian retreat, a violent regime change, the conquest of Ukraine, the beginning of a new Russian empire, or the start of a World War. For more on Poast's anaylsis of what's likely to come, read the interview in the Atlantic or listen to the podcast Plain English.

Four Yale Law professors and experts in international law also weighed in with some thoughts and context on the special military operation" in Ukraine.

Harvard held a panel called "Ukraine in Crisis" which brought together international experts to discuss the crisis situation. In his opening remarks, Harvard President Larry Bacow opened the panel with remarks in support of Ukraine. “Universities are built to bring people together, and technology has increased our capacity to draw audiences from around the world." Bacow said. "This gathering exemplifies our convening strength — and its tremendous value.” Read more about the "Ukraine in Crisis" panel here.

Northwestern held a webinar where Tymofiy Mylovanov, Ukraine’s former minister of economic development, addressed over 1000 of the Northwestern community. "“It’s not going to end with Ukraine if Ukraine falls,” Mylovanov warned.

Ukranian Universities Brace For Whatever Comes Next

Serhiy Kvit, the head of Ukraine’s higher education quality assurance agency and rector of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy (NaUKMA), urged students and faculty to use any and all resources available to them. “I have never said don’t panic because it doesn’t make any sense…" Kvit said. "The main thing is, within our university we have a well-organised community, especially the student community, all of them have enough information on how to save themselves and what they should do in unpredictable circumstances.”

Ukrainian universities are also working to secure computers and important documents.

“We’ve got things under control,” said Vitaliy Kurylo, president of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Luhansk.

Stand With Ukraine: How To Help

For resources on how to help, see this list of organizations working in support of Ukraine.

Written by

Joy Bullen

Joy Bullen

Joy Bullen is College Confidential's Senior Editor and Head of Content. She is a graduate of Kenyon College, where she majored in English and Creative Writing. She also earned a master’s in Psychology from The New School for Social Research in NYC.

Before becoming a full-time writer and editor, Joy coached thousands of prospective and enrolled college students on admissions and academic and career success. She also managed a team of academic and career coaches and consulted with universities on how to create programs that have better outcomes for students.

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