A terrible tragedy is unfolding before the world as President Putin, the leader of a militarized totalitarian regime, continues his unprovoked assault on Ukraine and its people.   

University of Waterloo is unwavering in our solidarity with the innocent victims of this invasion, and we stand in support of those who are calling for an end to the invasion.  

The University of Waterloo and all of academia play a vital role in preserving democracy by offering a safe place for free inquiry and preparing our students to be global citizens. The assault on Ukraine represents an assault on democracy and our deepest values. 

Last week, Professor Charmaine Dean, Vice-President, Research and International, wrote to the community to express our support for individuals affected by the invasion of Ukraine. Our immediate concern is for Ukrainian students, faculty and staff directly affected by the violence. To the many Ukrainians in our community who are mourning the loss of loved ones, dealing with unimaginable grief, stress, and exhaustion, my heart goes out to you. 

Under the leadership of Professor Ian Rowlands, Associate Vice-President, International, who is coordinating our response to the crisis, we’ve taken immediate action to identify and reach out directly to our Ukrainian students to offer them comfort and counselling. We also recognize that students from Russia are experiencing stress and anxiety and disruption to their resources and lives. We are in the process of exploring ways to further support all students affected by these events. 

If you wish to support those that have been affected, we encourage you to consider donating to the Red Cross, who need resources for this catastrophe and others happening globally. The Government of Canada will match every donation made by individual Canadians to the Canadian Red Cross between February 24, 2022, and March 18, 2022, up to a maximum of $10 million (CAD). Donations will support those impacted by ongoing conflict in Ukraine. 

The humanitarian crisis unfolding will not only affect Ukraine, it will affect the citizens of Russia who will bear the brunt of the sanctions being imposed. Tremendous efforts are being made by the people of countries such as Poland, Moldova and any other nation accepting those who have made the impossible decision to leave their lives behind to find safety.  

Within Waterloo, we are facilitating opportunities for faculty members with academic expertise on international relations, cyber-security, and European history, to talk with media and help make sense of this global upheaval.  Nationally, we are working with partners and staying engaged with key sector representatives – like the Canadian Bureau for International Education and Universities Canada – as they develop and implement collective responses.  

And globally, we are continuing to engage with higher education around the world. Our recent membership of Academic Without Borders offers us additional opportunities to contribute positively to this global community, and we will seek to grow such possibilities in the near future. 

The effects of the crisis in Ukraine will affect many people in different ways. I recognize, too, that conflicts and tragedy are happening and have happened in many places around the world. The current crisis serves as a vital reminder that we have work to do, and people to support, all over the world in our mission to create a better future for humanity. 

In difficult circumstances I urge everyone to stay respectful of one another and to offer your support to anyone who is struggling.  

Employees can contact Homewood Health for a range of health and wellness services under the Employee and Family Assistance Program. Contact Homewood Health directly by phone or through their website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days of the year.