Universities Scotland stands with Ukraine. We unequivocally condemn the invasion and are deeply concerned by the horrific events in Ukraine. We express our support for Ukrainian students and staff, studying, working and living in Scotland and those around the world.
Every university has reached out directly to the individuals most affected by this conflict to offer both practical and wellbeing support. This support extends to our Russian students and staff. It is very important no member of our community is ostracised or made to feel responsible for the actions of their Government.
We want to make additional financial support available to students affected by the disruption. In addition to institutions’ own funds, we are working with the Scottish Government to ensure that student hardship funding can support Ukrainian nationals.
Universities have put urgent action in hand to ensure that students and staff are able to return safely from Russia. They are in close touch with students who are studying remotely in the territories affected by the conflict. Universities are also urgently reviewing their teaching and research partnerships with Russian academic partners, and will work closely with government and other funders on this.
We look forward to Scotland welcoming people who are seeking refuge from the conflict. We welcome the UK Government’s visa extensions as announced for Ukrainian nationals who are already in the UK. We are working with both Governments to understand how this applies to students and what the implications might be in terms of supporting those who arrive in the UK, through a visa route.
We want to support asylum seekers and refugees to access higher education in Scotland. We have existing protocols on this, developed with the Scottish Refugee Council, which enable refugees and those with “humanitarian protection” to have access to free higher education on the same basis as Scottish-domiciled students. We are in urgent discussion with Scottish Government to clarify how the rules on refugees’ fees status will apply to people seeking sanctuary from the conflict in Ukraine.
Our immediate priority has been to support those most directly affected. However, we understand that this conflict is deeply distressing for everyone. University wellbeing services are available to all students and we encourage students to reach out if they need support.
Universities Scotland also supports the statements from Universities UK and the European University Association.