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    Vice-Chancellor’s statement in support of the people of Ukraine

    Posted 4 March 2022

    "Let us all stand in support of and in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they face these devastating circumstances. Peace, safety and security are fragile rights."

    White Harper Adams University logo overlaid against the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag.

    Like everyone in the Harper Adams community, I have struggled to sit and watch what is happening in Ukraine without being distressed and affected by it, and wanting to act.

    It has not only evoked a sense of anger and frustration at the destruction and harm of which humans are capable but has also created a powerful awareness that I may not have been as affected by wars and battles that have raged across different countries in my lifetime. 

    Why is this different? Maybe it is the proximity to where we are. Maybe it is the compounding power of social media on top of 24-hour news which means we experience a second by second account of what is happening, alongside real-time testimony from those who are affected and whose lives are being displaced or destroyed.

    Let me be clear what my view is. There is no justification for the actions of the Russian President and his authorising officials at this time.

    There is nothing to defend the actions resulting in lives, homes, workplaces and communities in Ukraine being destroyed by this campaign.  There is nothing to justify or legitimise the mass displacement of Ukrainian people from their homes and country who now have to seek the kindness and refuge of other nations as a result. 

    Whatever concerns the President of Russia has for the presence or actions of his neighbours, he has access to non-military ways to address them and resolve them. I do not know enough about the President of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to know if he has made good decisions throughout his time in office. He is, however, showing inspirational leadership and outstanding courage and this will be bringing vital comfort to his people at a time of fear and desperation.

    Our thoughts must be with everyone who is affected by this abhorrent attack on another country. Given our institutional mission, our concern is for the people of, and animals and wildlife in, Ukraine. Our concern should also include those people in Russia who do not agree with the invasion of Ukraine and will be affected for many years by the consequences of their President’s choices. 

    I am sure that many people will want to act and offer support to the people of Ukraine. I hope that the following information is helpful:

    • The Disasters Emergency Committee has established an appeal to make it easy to get support where it is needed.  More information is available here:

    • The extension of the Students’ Union bar will be used as an on-campus drop-off point from Tuesday 8 March 2022 and will be available during the day. Any donated items will be transported to a local collection point by University porters. Advice on what to donate is listed here:

    • Local collections have been arranged in Newport. The Newport Enterprise Centre (10a High Street, Newport) is collecting donations Monday – Friday 9am-5pm.

    • For the most up to date list of requested donations, and details of other local support efforts, local residents are regularly posting in the ‘Newport Shropshire – News, Views and Idle Chit Chat’ Facebook group

    We are connected to other West Midlands universities and have reached out to our local authorities to explore if there are additional ways that we can collectively offer practical support to those in need of sanctuary. These discussions will be ongoing.

    If you have been affected by what you are seeing, please do reach out to your family, friends and colleagues to discuss it.

    The Student Assistance Programme (SAP) is available to all students, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The free helpline (0800 028 3766) offers over the phone support, with a host of services for students including counselling, self-help programmes and more. Students can also download the ‘My Healthy Advantage’ App (Code shared with students by email) to take advantage of further wellbeing support and self-help tools.

    If you would like to seek support from the university Wellbeing Team, please complete the Student Self-Referral Form on our website.

    Staff who are affected are able to reach out through the University’s Employee Assistance Programme.

    Let us all stand in support of and in solidarity with the people of Ukraine as they face these devastating circumstances. Peace, safety and security are fragile rights.

    When they are attacked, removed or damaged by illegitimate actions, we must act in support of those affected. If a community like ours does not stand for the rights to freedom and peace, we are not accepting the responsibility of being a University.

    Professor Ken Sloan


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