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President Barron Releases Statement Amid Conflict In Ukraine

Penn State President Eric Barron released a statement on Monday to voice support for those affected by the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine late last week, and more than 500,000 refugees have fled Ukraine for neighboring countries.

“Our hearts are with all who are directly in harm’s way as a result of this direct attack on Ukrainian sovereignty, in clear violation of international law,” Barron wrote. “The implications are deeply troubling: these include the humanitarian toll that already is being felt in Ukraine and around the world; and the potential long-term, global impacts. Our world and our collective fate are intrinsically tied together as a global society and this attack has created a level of fragility.”

Barron followed by encouraging Penn Staters of all backgrounds to “learn and explore this troubling time together” by engaging in conversations with one another. He continued by acknowledging that there are students, faculty, and staff at Penn State who are from Ukraine and Russia or have ties to the region. He said Penn State has “been directly in touch with affected members of our campus community and will continue to offer them our support.”

The statement also listed on-campus resources for those who might need them, including CAPS, the Penn State Crisis Line, International Student and Scholar Advising, and more.

“As a community, we must continue to offer compassion and support for one another, including all of our faculty, staff and students who are impacted,” Barron wrote. “Our hearts are heavy as we continue to watch the events unfold, and we remain hopeful for the return of peace to that region and the world.”

On Thursday, a group of Penn State students and community members gathered at the Allen Street Gates to plead for Ukrainian support. The Penn State Ukrainian Society will host a similar event at Old Main on Thursday.

You can read Barron’s full statement below.

Dear Penn Staters, 

In recent days, the world has watched as the Russian government launched a full-scale invasion in Ukraine. Our hearts are with all who are directly in harm’s way as a result of this direct attack on Ukrainian sovereignty, in clear violation of international law. The implications are deeply troubling: these include the humanitarian toll that already is being felt in Ukraine and around the world; and the potential long-term, global impacts. Our world and our collective fate are intrinsically tied together as a global society and this attack has created a level of fragility. 

As a community of higher learning, and as citizens of the world, we have the opportunity to learn from and explore this troubling time together. In the coming days and weeks, Penn Staters from all backgrounds are encouraged to engage in conversations with their peers, mentors and faculty. As a university, we celebrate our ability to speak freely to one another about the most serious issues that face society, to learn from one another, and to contribute as we continue each day to be global citizens. 

At Penn State, we have students, faculty and staff from all over the world, including Ukraine and Russia. Further, many on our campuses and in our communities have family roots these regions and have loved ones living there. We have already been directly in touch with affected members of our campus community and will continue to offer them our support. For those in need we share you of the following resources: 

Counseling and mental health services available through CAPS, which can be reached at 814-863-0395 for University Park students, or at each Commonwealth Campus location. 

The Penn State Crisis Line (877-229-6400) and the Crisis Text Line (text “LIONS” to 741741), which are open 24/7 to Penn Staters dealing with both crisis and non-crisis situations — including faculty, staff and students at all campuses who have a question about someone else. The licensed professionals with the Penn State Crisis Line can help evaluate each individual situation, offer guidance and help connect callers with further resources if appropriate. 

International Student and Scholar Advising: 814-865-6348 (option 2); if an adviser is unavailable, please leave your name and telephone number and you will be called back. 

Penn State’s Employee Assistance Program, a free, confidential employee and family resource to be used as the first line of defense for personal or work-related concerns for employees and their families. 

There are also many in our community who would like to support those in need. The U.S. State Department has shared this information https://www.state.gov/united-with-ukraine/ for those who have asked how they can help. 

As a community, we must continue to offer compassion and support for one another, including all of our faculty, staff and students who are impacted. Our hearts are heavy as we continue to watch the events unfold, and we remain hopeful for the return of peace to that region and the world.  

Eric J. Barron, president

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a senior biology major from York, Pa, and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She overuses the ~tilde~ and aspires to be no other than the great Guy Fieri. You can find Colleen filling up her gas tank at Rutter’s, the ~superior~ Pennsylvania gas station. Please direct any questions or concerns to colleen@onwardstate.com. For the hijinks, always.

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