Ukraine: our UofG response

Published: 8 April 2022

An update from the University's Refugee & Asylum Seeker Champion, Rachel Sandison

Dear Colleagues,

It is with great sadness that we see the war in Ukraine continue to unfold, and my thoughts are with all those impacted.

However, it has been heartening to see the University’s response over recent weeks, and as the University’s Refugee & Asylum Seeker Champion, I would like to update you on some of this activity.

Firstly, I want to recognise the incredible efforts of our community who have rallied to provide support, whether that is offering advice, seeking donations or raising awareness.

In particular, the team in the Donations Hub in the QMU, coordinated by Peter Skabara and Lesia Davidson alongside volunteers, have worked tirelessly to ensure that members of the University and local community have a place to donate much needed supplies.

The Donations Hub will remain open until 20 May.

I would also like to update you on recent discussions at the University’s Senior Management Group.

We recognise the need to work alongside other institutions, cross-sector organisations and national governments to maximise our efforts. Sector-wide discussions have brought together various representative bodies, including Universities UK, Universities Scotland, the UK Council for International Student Affairs and the British Universities Liaison Association to explore the impact of the war in Ukraine on colleagues, students, applicants, and their families.

Specifically, discussions have focussed on how we can coordinate collective activity over issues such as the repatriation of students and staff, wellbeing and emotional support for all those affected, immigration requirements, student finance and the impact of sanctions.

The University has also publicly stated its solidarity with our international partners in CIVIS, our European Universities Alliance, and the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, both of which commits us to a range of tangible and meaningful actions to help the protection of democracy and preservation of human rights. This has led to a suspension of partnerships with Russian and Belarusian universities.

You can read more about these commitments on the CIVIS and the Guild webpages.

Support available through UofG

We are working to ensure tailored and targeted support is available for those members of our community who are directly affected by the war.

We have been moved by the response from our global community (students, colleagues and alumni) who have supported our Hardship Fund appeal.  More than 270 individuals have given, with funds so far totalling £103,636, and gifts are still being accepted.

Our hope is that new students from Ukraine joining us in September will be categorised as Home Fee status by the Scottish government and will therefore have recourse to public funds. However, we have also committed to significantly increasing our Sanctuary Scholarships.

I would like to highlight the work taking place with the Council for At Risk Academics (CARA) to help academics and families in Ukraine. The expertise of CARA has been vital and we value our strong and long-standing relationship with the organisation. We have therefore confirmed our intention to double our financial commitment to CARA and, like other organisations across the sector, we will continue to work closely with CARA and other relevant NGOs on new initiatives.

The University also supports the UK Government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme which encourages members of the public to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees, acting as a ‘matchmaker’ for colleagues who wish to do this. For details about the scheme, please see the University’s Homes for Ukraine webpage.

What next?

Sadly, there is more that we know needs to be done as the war continues. The University will continue to consider how we can support our students, colleagues and the Ukrainian community over the longer-term. A working group has been established with representation from across the University to ensure that we continue to explore all possible avenues of support on an ongoing basis.

We will continue to work alongside our partners across the HE sector, and in government, to offer an effective range of mitigations into the next academic year.

We will also continue to offer support and assistance through Health & Wellbeing, which is available to any member of staff who requires support at this time.

We have also established a new email inbox for any queries pertaining to support for refugee and asylum seekers: Our Ukraine webpages will continue to be updated as new initiatives are progressed, and please do not hesitate to get in contact should you wish to discuss any aspect of the University’s response.  

Thank you for your support.

With best wishes,

Rachel Sandison

Refugee & Asylum Seeker Champion. Vice Principal, External Relations & Deputy Vice Chancellor, External Engagement

First published: 8 April 2022

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