Colgate Community Responds to War 

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Students, faculty, and staff gathered in Memorial Chapel on Tuesday morning for a vigil of solidarity with the people of Ukraine. The gathering was one of several moments during which Colgate community members have joined together to show their support for victims of the invasion since it began on Feb. 24.

“We must do now what we are called to do here,” said Colgate President Brian W. Casey to the crowd assembled at the event organized by the University’s Chaplaincy. “To seek truth, to tell truth, to explore what is happening, and to seek an affirming flame. To do less is to allow darkness to spread; but to do just that is to possibly save the world.”

For Colgate faculty with years of experience studying and traveling in Russia, Eastern Europe, and the Baltic States. Russia’s invasion of a sovereign Ukraine hits close to home, as many have friends and family still in the region.

“Gathered together here today, many of us are feeling a variety of strong emotions: anguish at the suffering of innocent civilians in Ukraine, including children, who have been killed or injured as a result of deliberately indiscriminate attacks on cities; fury at Putin and his coterie for choosing war; heartbreak for Ukrainian families separated by war,” said Associate Professor of Political Science Valerie Morkevičius.  

The war spurred professors to organize online panels and in-person discussion groups. Colgate faculty provided historically informed reflections on the unfolding situation, and their students were encouraged to ask questions of the panel members. They are now developing plans to support relief efforts for the most vulnerable populations affected by the conflict.

Shortly before war broke out, Colgate’s Center for Freedom and Western Civilization held a Feb. 15 panel discussion titled, “Ukrainian Sovereignty and Regional Stability: A Panel Discussion on the Crisis in Ukraine,” with Serhii Plokhii, the Mykhailo S. Hrushevs'kyi Professor of Ukrainian history and director of the Ukrainian Research Institute at Harvard University, along with Colgate Russian and Eurasian Studies Program Director Jessica Graybill and Morkevičius.

“This is a way of coming together to talk about the urgency of what we’re all witnessing in Eastern Europe and Russia right now,” said center co-director and Associate Professor of Art and Art History and Russian and Eurasian Studies Carolyn Guile. “What does this conflict tell us about the durability of national sovereignty?” 

On March 1, the Russian and Eurasian Studies Program sponsored an interdisciplinary panel discussion titled, “Ukraine, Russia, and the World: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask.” Director of LGBTQ+ Initiatives Lyosha Gorshkov, Assistant Professor of Political Science Masha Hedberg, Professor of Anthropology and Peace and Conflict Studies Nancy Ries, along with Graybill and Morkevičius provided brief comments and answered many questions from the audience.

Colgate librarians have assembled an online resource page with maps, news links, campus updates, and additional academic materials for anyone doing research on the conflict. Additionally, Colgate faculty created a new page on the Colgate website that offers a collection of past events and additional resources related to the war in Ukraine. New events will be added to that page as they become available.