Dear Members of the Yale Community,
Over the past two weeks, I have watched with horror the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine. The callous disregard for human life and ruthless destruction of Ukraine’s cities and towns are gross violations of international law and an assault on our common humanity. Vladimir Putin’s actions and his reckless threats of wider war are a risk to international peace and order. Yale condemns this unjustified and unprovoked attack.
Below, I highlight some of the ways Yale is responding to this crisis. This includes information I provided during our community’s Vigil for Peace on February 27 and additional steps the university is taking. There is more to do, so I will continue to seek other opportunities for Yale to assist.
Support for Ukrainian scholars and students, as well as those from elsewhere in the region
Members of Yale’s faculty and staff have offered support to every Ukrainian student and scholar on campus. The Office of International Students and Scholars is helping with summer and post-graduation plans, as well as providing information about longer-term options, such as Temporary Protected Status. We will reevaluate the financial aid awards for Ukrainian students who experience changes in their economic situation and are ensuring they are aware of university resources for mental health and other needs.
I am working with leaders at other U.S. universities to advocate for policies that protect the legal status of Ukrainian students and scholars in the U.S. We continue to monitor U.S. federal policies regarding immigration and provide regular updates to affected members of our community. For Ukrainian students and scholars who need assistance with immigration law, Yale is offering free consultations with an attorney. We also have reached out to all Russian students and scholars and others from the region to offer support because many of them are deeply affected as well.
We are expanding our program for scholars at risk, through which we provide temporary teaching and research positions and career guidance to those who are facing imminent threats to their liberty, life, and well-being. We currently host several scholars from Afghanistan, Iran, and Myanmar and will welcome scholars from Ukraine to our campus, too.
Academic collaborations with Russia
Yale has no formal partnerships with Russian institutions at this time, nor do we plan on forming any, but the university is not limiting faculty-led collaborations with academics in Russia. Yale’s Committee on International Research, Programs, and Activities and the university’s institutional review boards continue to review collaborations in Russia to ensure adherence to ethical and legal guidelines.
Currently, the U.S. Department of State is advising against travel to Russia. Therefore, all university programs that involve travel to Russia need to be deferred. For example, Yale College summer courses in Russia will not take place unless the travel ban is lifted.
Engagement with those subject to U.S. government sanctions
Yale will respect all U.S. government sanctions applicable to Russia and will continue to be aware of the sanctions imposed by other countries. We will not allow individuals subject to U.S. sanctions to make donations to the university or serve on university boards or committees.
The university and the Yale Investments Office support the companies and investors who have condemned Putin and stand with Ukraine. Yale’s endowment has no manager relationships in Russia or who focus on Russia; this has been the case for over two decades. Yale did have minimum passive exposure via its ownership of the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets Exchange-Traded Fund that we use for portfolio rebalancing. I am grateful that FTSE Russell, the index provider for the Exchange-Traded Fund, has decided to remove Russian securities from its indices, which eliminates the very small passive indirect exposure to Russia that Yale previously held.
At moments like this, we are reminded of the fragility of peace and life, but also of the strength and courage of individuals and communities who stand together. Yale will continue to work in any way we can to support students and scholars from Ukraine and those from elsewhere in the region. My thoughts are with the Ukrainian people and everyone else who has been affected by the tragic consequences of Vladimir Putin’s war of aggression.
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology