|To the University of Miami Community,|
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is tragic and distressing. The images of violence, news of lives lost, stories of citizens joining the army en masse to defend their country, and accounts of families fleeing their homes to find safety are disturbing. War is frightening, especially given the cruelty, disinformation, and opportunism exhibited by an unprovoked aggressor. Our hearts are heavy for Ukrainians, and we are hopeful that a return to peace in this region is forthcoming.
As I shared on social media yesterday, we stand in solidarity with our students, faculty, and staff from Ukraine.
I also urge us to reflect on the complexity of current events, keeping in mind that the Russian government does not speak for all the inhabitants of the country. We have many Russian community members who share our concern for those impacted and our fervent desire for peace.
When I visited with the University’s women’s tennis team to speak with Diana Khodan, a Ukrainian student-athlete, I was acutely reminded of how the U mobilizes to support each other in times of crisis. I am grateful and inspired to see our Ukrainian community supported by teammates, colleagues, and friends.
Whether or not you and your families are directly affected by the crisis in Ukraine, as part of the University of Miami community, I am certain that the images of war and the violence leveled against innocent lives have been deeply unsettling. This is also a direct challenge to the international legal order established after World War II, and therefore, a global threat.
For those of you concerned about family and friends in Ukraine, I know that it may be difficult for you to get in touch with your loved ones back home, and I sincerely hope that they are safe. For anyone experiencing anxiety and stress and needing assistance, please know that the University of Miami community cares about you and supports you. The Counseling Center is available to help students 24/7 (305-284-5511), and the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program is available to help faculty and staff (305-284-6604).
The University of Miami family will always stand in support of democracy, freedom, and peace. Our hearts go out to the Ukrainian community here in South Florida and around the world, and to the people of Ukraine during this time of struggle.