Dear Queen’s Community,

Last week, the world watched in horror as Russia invaded Ukraine. Our institution, like many others, felt the effects immediately. Messages with lists of supports for those in distress were sent out by myself and others in the university. We continue to offer those supports, but as the crisis deepens it has become necessary also to declare publicly how profoundly repugnant the Russian invasion of Ukraine is to the values upon which institutions like our own are built.

Professor Ronald Daniels, President of Johns Hopkins University, succinctly made a key point in his recent book, What Universities Owe Democracy: “Autocratic regimes extinguish the expressive freedom and organic flourishing of students and scholars. For those who love and believe in the university, we cannot be agnostic about, or indifferent to, the vibrancy of liberal democracy.” Conversely, we must condemn any and all actions that threaten democracy, for the simple reason that they undermine what every student, faculty or staff member at this university has to believe: namely, that the pursuit of knowledge and truth has an inherent and persisting value for humanity and that the health of our society depends upon it. Thus, while we feel deep concern about the safety and welfare of the Ukrainian people at large, we must stand in special solidarity with the more than eight hundred institutions of higher learning in Ukraine whose values, aspirations, and very purpose for being has been put under threat by the invasion.

Patrick Deane

Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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