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The war in Ukraine - message from our Vice-Chancellor

The Ukraine crisis continues to weigh heavily on everyone's minds. As of last week, 120,000 people in the UK had registered to offer their homes to refugees. I know that there are already some in our OU community who have signed up and many are considering doing so.

The University has looked to see how we can best support Ukrainian students, refugees and the wider humanitarian effort.

We have reached out to all current Ukrainian students and staff including those in Ukraine to offer them support. We have waived all future fees for the 15 students currently in Ukraine and hardship funds are available for further support. Twelve of the 15 students contacted have been in touch – their testimonials are heart-breaking but their intent to continue with their studies is remarkable.

We have also been in touch with our Russian and Belarusian staff and students to check on their welfare and offer pastoral support. We have reviewed our partnerships and collaborations with Russian and Belarusian academic institutions to satisfy ourselves that these are appropriate in the current situation. And we have undertaken a full review of our investment portfolio to divest funds from Russian assets and to ensure that we are fully compliant with international sanctions.

Over the next few days, as a part of our UK wide effort we will be setting up dedicated pages on OpenLearn and are exploring with the Department for Education and Home Office how this could be a useful resource in the coming days and months, in the same invaluable way that OpenLearn stepped up to the pandemic.

The University will continue to do everything possible to help. Please do continue to look out for each other and of course for yourselves.

Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University