As we continue to view the unfolding events in Ukraine with horror, our thoughts go out to the many bereaved and wounded, those suffering bombardment, homelessness and the destruction of their lives in the region. We express our solidarity with Ukrainian students and colleagues, along with all of those affected by the invasion, and we stand united in unequivocally condemning violence against civilians, hoping that peace can be restored as quickly as possible.
We also look to how we can help as the humanitarian situation escalates in the country and the wider region. As Dr Olena Nizalova, Senior Lecturer in Economics and a member of our staff of Ukrainian origin, has said in a blog post earlier this week, there are practical ways to help, the critical means being the donation of money.
National efforts are focussing on the work of the Disasters Emergency Committee which coordinates efforts across a range of agencies working in the region and we are urging students and staff who wish to donate to contribute to DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
At the University, we are already engaged in a number of practical steps to support those impacted by the conflict in Ukraine.
For many years we have provided the Council for At Risk Academics (CARA) funding to support refugee and displaced academics with opportunities for study and research at Kent. We have been in touch with them this week to confirm that this funding is available for Ukrainian academics and to explore ways in which we might extend our contribution via this route. We have also been in touch with the worldwide #ScienceForUkraine initiative to ensure that they are aware of our support through CARA and to publicise it through that venue.
We have identified several staff and students from Ukraine and Russia and have taken immediate steps to support these individuals. Additionally, we have been supporting staff and students based in both countries to ensure we can get them to a safe place as quickly as possible. Teams are also tracing any further staff or students who have travelled to the regions to make sure they can access the help they need.
We are working with our students and with Kent Union to organise and promote a range of fundraising activities and are urging all staff to consider supporting these.
We are also exploring how our hardship mechanisms can be utilised by Ukrainian students, and whether or not we can enable specific donations to support this provision.
After the wide support offered by Kent staff and students at Kent’s Solidarity with Ukraine event, the next opportunity for them to feedback on our activity will be held within our forthcoming Global Showcase on 16 March.
We thank all of our community who have pulled together to coordinate our response to this.
Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President