In late 2021, Russia began to deploy a large number of forces at the Ukrainian border. On Feb. 24, Russia launched an attack on the Ukrainian people causing many to become fearful of what is yet to come.
Millions of people across the U.S. and the world have since continued to observe in horror as these events unfold. Pictures and videos of explosions and unrest, civilians being injured, groups fleeing into shelters and out of the country are inundating social media sites and news networks across the country and the world.
Although the current situations are stressful, it is important that both the University of Arizona and college students actively remain aware of the ongoing crises and not become apolitical in this situation.
While many current U.S. college and university students haven’t experienced or lived through a world war, many have been impacted by America’s vast conflicts with Iraq and Afghanistan. Because of this, the idea of and continuous discussions being held about the current war in Ukraine can be frightening to many college students because of the uncertainty that warfare could escalate to a point where the U.S. and other countries become increasingly involved.
Colleges and universities are responding in many ways to the Russia-Ukraine crisis. The UA’s President Dr. Robert C. Robbins, for example, relayed his support of solidarity through an email sent to the whole campus.
“The University of Arizona stands in support of those in our community affected by the unprovoked attack and invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine by Russian military forces this week,” Robbins stated in the email.
Members of the UA community, as well as the UA, should be actively donating and supporting grassroots efforts and organizations that work to support Ukrainian and Russian civilians affected by the current war and also continue to demand sanctions against the Russian government.
It is also important that we begin to listen and support the first-hand stories and experiences of Ukrainian students and faculty on campus. Faculty from the UA and Arizona State University recently held a panel in response to the war with the goal of educating and informing students and the community on the situation.
Further, the UA and current UA students need to begin creating a more inclusive and supportive environment so that everyone can be engaged and share their anxieties, hopes and opinions on the current crisis in Ukraine. And it is especially important that we offer more mental and emotional support for students who are facing unprecedented challenges.
It is critical that all universities, colleges and students learn about and acknowledge the ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity across the globe because it almost always affects the livelihoods of our local communities.
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Sophia is a freshman majoring in Family Studies & Human Development and Global Studies. She loves to write on pieces concerning politics that affect the Tucson and the UA community.