Unis responding to the pain of Ukraine

ANU shows the way

Late Thursday ANU announced it was “suspending all ties and activities with Russian institutions, indefinitely and with immediate effect,” in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

To which some ANU academics responded first thing Friday with an open letter warning that this “will have a devastating effect on those academics in Russia who strive for international collaboration and thus slow down the country’s descent into the dark ages” and be bad for, “ANU academics and students involved in Russian studies and collaborations, their ongoing and future projects.”

Signatories urge “a better-targeted response” to “President Putin’s unspeakable aggression against Ukraine.”

However ANU states, “The university has not mandated any restrictions on an individual’s interactions with colleagues, except those that would come under the remit of foreign interference.”

Critics at ANU might be happier with the statement from the Group of Eight (of which ANU is a member), “condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s people and sovereignty.” The Eight offer “counselling and other assistance to international students and faculty affected by the crisis.”  But “solidarity with the global research community” in condemning the attack is as far as it goes.

Another Group of Eight member, Uni Sydney, protested the invasion by joining other unis with carillons by playing Ukrainian songs on theirs. “Our university is committed to the principles of equality and accountability that underwrite the value of democracy. In keeping with these cherished principles, we support the continuity of Ukrainian sovereignty,” VC Mark Scott said Thursday.

However La Trobe U chose the ANU way. Late Friday VC John Dewar told staff the university has no research or education partnerships with Russian institutions and will keep it that way. “We encourage our academics to cease any research collaborations with Russian institutions.