Vice-Chancellor Anders Hagfeldt. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt.2022-03-04
To all members of staff at Uppsala University
The invasion of Ukraine is truly appalling. Fear and anxiety are proliferating and none of us is left untouched. Some of us know people directly affected, some have friends or family whose lives have been turned upside down overnight. The refugee flows are swelling and no end to the conflict is yet in sight.
Sweden and its government have taken a clear stand on behalf of the people of Ukraine and have condemned the invasion in the most vigorous terms. The University endorses this condemnation. In terms of action, the government, in unity with the international community, has decided to support Ukraine by imposing sanctions against Russia. Minister for Education Anna Ekström has clarified what this means for Sweden’s higher education institutions: the government calls on Swedish universities and research funding bodies to discontinue cooperation with state institutions in Russia and Belarus. Uppsala University will comply with the government’s decision.
The situation is complicated, however. To analyse the consequences of these directives for our University, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Coco Norén has accepted the task of coordinating our action internally at the University and with external players at national, regional and international level. We have also activated the University’s crisis response team to deal with issues that come up.
So far most questions have concerned individual cases. There are many individual contacts between researchers in Sweden, Russia and Belarus. Many academics and researchers are openly critical to their countries’ actions and they should not be treated in the same way as state institutions. Our aspiration in these cases is to provide support and to maintain important partnerships. We have to assess each situation on the basis of our information in the current situation.
Our top priority here at home is to look after our students and staff and to make sure support is available to anyone feeling anxiety. There is a page in the Staff Portal describing the various forms of support. Heads of department, directors of studies, teachers, study counsellors, programme and course coordinators can play a major part in creating a feeling of security and fielding the questions that arise.
We have also appointed a group of academic experts who will contribute in-depth specialist knowledge and play a proactive role.
We are aware that the situation is difficult and that questions need answers. Information about decisions will be continuously updated in the Staff Portal. If you have any questions about agreements, contact the Legal Affairs Division.
While we do not know how the situation will develop, we have several important duties: to show our solidarity, to share our expertise and to look after one another.