Standing for peace in times of conflict

As we watch the images of war unfold in Ukraine, we are mindful that the impacts of this conflict reach all the way to our community here in Utah. We are not isolated from the pain and anxiety caused by this siege, though it is on the other side of the world. Many of our students, faculty, and staff from Ukraine, Russia, and the surrounding region are experiencing mental, financial, and emotional duress because of international violence and instability.

War always creates a humanitarian crisis. Along with growing human causalities, estimates are that nearly 1 million people already have fled Ukraine, with many more seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Individuals from Africa and India are among those trying to leave the war zone, but have been refused entry into surrounding countries. Thousands of Russian citizens who are protesting the war have been arrested and detained. The cascade of hardship caused by this conflict will be broad and long-lasting.

As an institution of higher education, the University of Utah is dedicated to dialogue and peaceful solutions to conflict, whether interpersonal, national or international. Freedom is not possible without peace, and nations cannot find or promote freedom through intolerance, territorial greed, and war. The most reasonable solution to end this growing humanitarian crisis is through dialogue and peace. We remain hopeful that the peace talks underway will reach a breakthrough and end the death and destruction that mounts each day.

As members of the university’s family, we share in the grief and fear of our students, faculty and staff with ties to Russia and Ukraine. We know international students from the region are worried about their fellow citizens and their own well-being during this tense and dangerous situation. While we may not be able to impact the conflict from afar, we encourage all members of our campus community to reach out to your classmates, coworkers and colleagues to support and lift one another up. In a moment of conflict like this, we believe we must treat each other with grace and compassion.

The university’s support services—including the University Counseling Center, Utah Global, Student Affairs and the International Scholar and Student Services office—stand ready to help any members of our campus community who have been impacted by this crisis and are struggling with the realities of war.

We invite each of you who may be impacted by this crisis to reach out with questions or concerns.

Martell Teasley
Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs

Jeff Herring
Chief Human Resources Officer

Counseling and support services are available from several entities on campus: