Irish universities suspend student exchanges in solidarity with Ukraine

Ukraine flags in Dublin’s city centre. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Conor Feehan

Irish Universities have pledged support for Ukraine with a range of measures including suspending the exchange of students, researchers and scientific personnel with Russia and Belarus.

In a statement today the Irish Universities Association (IUA), which represents Trinity College, UCD, UCC, DCU, NUI Galway, Maynooth University, TU Dublin, and University of Limerick, said it is “deeply shocked and outraged by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and condemn this unprovoked violence in the strongest possible terms”.

“These actions are an assault on democracy and on the values of freedom, autonomy and respect that we all hold dear. We will continue to work with our colleagues here in Ireland and across Eastern Europe to offer our support to those affected including students and staff,” it added.

“Conscious of the role of universities in promoting democracy and peace, we will robustly support, comply with and implement international sanctions regimes with respect to the Russian Federation and Belarus.

“This includes suspension of the exchange of students, researchers and scientific personnel, the cessation of financial transactions and a halt to the exchange of research material, complying in full with all EU sanctions,” the statement said.

The statement was issued following a meeting of IUA university presidents.

The IUA said it acknowledges that many Russian academics are opposed to the Putin regime and the actions of the State of Russia, and laments the impact of these suspensions on the open exchange of knowledge and ideas through institutional collaboration.

“We have a duty of care to students in Ireland who find themselves in a difficult situation through no fault of their own. As a result Russian students currently in Ireland can remain until the end of their programme. Student supports are available where necessary through the usual university services,” a spokeswoman from the IUA confirmed to the Irish Independent.

“Our universities will continue to review the rapidly evolving situation in Ukraine to ensure that we continue to support the people of Ukraine in their time of need.

“The EU sanctions apply at an institutional level, and Irish universities are therefore suspending all institution-level agreements and transactions with the Russian Federation and Belarus.

“Our universities remain resolutely supportive of the Ukrainian people and of the principles of democracy that must be protected in the interests of all people in Europe,” she added.