Letter to the Editor: GVSU supports Ukraine

GVSU community

25 February 2022

In this moment of international crisis, we the undersigned are compelled to respond to Russian military movement into the independent nation-state of Ukraine. As scholars at Grand Valley State University, we pursue educational achievement because we understand that knowledge profoundly enables us to be effective individuals and community members. We believe the call to scholarly pursuit is likewise a call to care. Institutions of higher learning are places where people convene to engage in shared goals, which makes us responsible for one another’s well-being.

As a community of scholars, we are committed to liberal principles of intellectual freedom, autonomy, and constructive dialogue. Our reputation as a university of academic excellence, intellectual integrity, and impassioned citizenship has drawn scholars from across the state of Michigan, the United States, and the world. Grand Valley State University is the educational home of 400 international students. This is in addition to the numerous faculty, staff, and first-generation American students who hail from nations around the world. Language recently adopted in our Reach Higher Initiative commits us to “think and act on a global basis.”

This holds us accountable for promoting our institutional values globally. The actions of the governing body of the Russian Federation are antithetical to the values we espouse at our institution. As such, we are compelled to denounce these actions upon the independent nation-state of Ukraine. In writing this letter, we wish to express unwavering support for our Ukrainian students, faculty, and staff. We extend our support to your families and friends who are also affected by these actions. You are valued members of our community, and we stand in solidarity with you.

We also recognize the efforts of numerous Russian citizens, journalists, and activists who have denounced the actions of the Russian governing body and who are now at great risk for demonstrating the courage of their convictions. A tradition of dissidence, critical thinking, and the unfettered exchange of ideas has long been the practice of global institutions committed to academic inquiry.

Any action that attempts to silence or curtail these integral components of a healthy society should be scrutinized. Here, we turn our scrutiny upon the leaders of the Russian Federation while bearing witness to these events. It is with a shared commitment to such principles that we sign this letter of support for Ukraine and its people both near and far.

In solidarity,

The GVSU community