Cambridge Vice-Chancellor condemns invasion of Ukraine

Students were told of the University’s position and ways they could assist Ukraine in an email sent by Stephen Toope today

Today (28/2) the University’s Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope made a public statement condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the same statement emailed to all students, he outlined methods of support available to students affected by the conflict and listed organisations which students may consider donating towards to relieve refugees and people at risk.

In condemning the invasion, Toope described the Russian incursion as an “unprovoked act of war” and declared his support for Ukrainian “sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity”. He expressed sympathy for displaced Ukrainian citizens and support for protestors campaigning for the termination of the conflict within Russia.

Toope recognised that the invasion’s effects can be felt in Cambridge as well, noting that the “safety and wellbeing” of staff and students may be affected, especially those whose families and friends were implicated in military action. This follows on from an earlier email sent by the University last Saturday (26/2) which notified students of the possible presence of a staff member in Ukraine.

Toope reiterated the University’s reminder that counselling services are available to staff and students, and that colleges can provide tutorial support. It has also been revealed that a hardship fund will be set up where alumni contributions can be used to help affected students.

Toope also suggested the Council of At-Risk Academics (CARA), the British Red Cross Ukraine Appeal, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as three initiatives students can donate towards. In addition, the Vice-Chancellor has announced that a vigil will be held in Senate House Yard in solidarity with Ukraine.

A “No To War in Ukraine” protest organised by the Cambridge Stop the War Coalition, the Cambridge Climate and Social Justice Coalition, and Demilitarise Cambridge is scheduled to be held in Market Square on Saturday (5/3). This follows several vigils, marches and events held across Cambridge over the past week demanding the halting of the invasion.

Feature image credits: Vedika Mandapati