By Shannon Sigafoos

In the wake of the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, students, faculty, and staff rallied together on the Quad to elevate Ukrainian voices on campus and to share stories from those whose loved ones are currently living in both Ukrainian and Russian territories. 

The event, put together by Lindsay Ceballos, assistant professor of Russian and East European studies, Joshua Sanborn, David M. ’70 and Linda Roth Professor of History, Katalin Fabian, professor of government and law, and Monika Rice, assistant professor and Robert Weiner and Ilan Peleg Scholar in Jewish Studies, provided an opportunity for those both directly and indirectly affected to share their thoughts on the war and sentiments on how the Lafayette community can help.

“We have special concern for the students from Ukraine, Russia, and other areas of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, who face the prospect of personal tragedy, material loss, and uncertainty regarding how people around them may treat them differently as a result of the conflict,” shared Sanborn. “We know that many on campus and in the community who may not know a lot about the region are looking to find out more and to respond in positive ways.”

Those who took to the microphone included Reni Mokrii ’25, who hails from Moscow but whose grandfather was born and raised in Western Ukrainian. Draped in the Ukrainian flag, she shared her concerns about a cousin still in the Ukraine who is unable to flee because her husband may be drafted for military service. Afterward, she explained how much she appreciated the show of support and compassion on display at the event.

“I actually didn’t expect there to be so much understanding,” she said tearfully after several students lined up to embrace her. “I’ve heard from friends [outside of the state] that there is some negative backlash happening against Russians in the U.S., so I’m grateful for the community here.”

“What happened here today made me feel very supported. This last week has been very rough,” echoed Ksenia Tymchenko ’25, who has family and friends in the war zones. “It feels like I’ve been at a standstill, and everyone is moving around me and going about their lives. Seeing everyone here made me feel better and made me realize the number of people who believe that what is going on is not OK.” 

Prof. Ceballos shared that Lafayette community members who may be interested in following Russian coverage, featuring reporters on the ground who consult with experts to provide real-time, factual information, may do so by tuning into TV Rain, which airs in the U.S. on YouTube. 

The event was covered by The Morning Call.

Categorized in: Community, Featured News, Global Impact, International Affairs, International Students, News and Features, Russian and East European studies, Social Hub

2 Comments

  1. Ken Poppe '62 says:

    I agree with Jeff. I would add that perhaps the students and faculty and others in the college community could look into ways to not only raise awareness of Russia’s aggression but also to raise funds that can be sent to reliable organizations that can assist humanitarian concerns. Perhaps even alums would want to contribute. In addition, perhaps the faculty can create ad hoc seminars to discuss the historical connection between Ukraine and Russia and to provide insight into Putin’s motives.

  2. Jeff Ruthizer '62 says:

    Vitally important story for the entire Lafayette community to see this news about the campus reaction to Russia’s violation of international law in waging war. I and many other alumni have Ukrainian ancestry from the Kyiv area. Our hearts go out. I encourage the students and faculty to do more of this as the war intensifies and focus on the wholesale condemnation of the Russian criminal aggressor. There has to be accountability.

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