Statement from Interim Principal, Kevin O’Hare, on the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Keighley College unequivocally condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the terrible suffering and loss of life it is causing.
We stand in solidarity with all of the Ukrainians who are enduring this war, including the millions who have been forced to flee their homeland and seek refuge in other countries.
As an education provider, we cherish the values of diversity, inclusion and tolerance that are at the heart of democratic societies which respect the dignity of the individual and freedom of thought and expression. Indeed, tolerance and respecting others are part of the college’s core principles.
It is such values that authoritarianism and its consequences, of which this unprovoked invasion is a shockingly stark example, seeks to destroy.
We are also painfully aware that this crisis is far from an isolated event. Instead, it is the latest – and from our European perspective, due to its proximity and severity, most shocking – example of a wider and ongoing pattern of conflict that has created refugees around the world.
Whenever such crises arise it is vital that we respond with compassion and conviction, while continuing to uphold and defend our values.
And so it is now when we realise that many parts of the college, and wider, community are being affected by the events in Ukraine and will need our support. That includes our Russian students, many of whom will be opposed to the war, and all of whom – of course – have a right to feel respected and safe.
In terms of what we are doing specifically, the college:
- Is providing information and advice resources, including details on how to support refugees, via its Student Information Hub.
- Has held a collection of toiletries and clothes to donate to the Good Shepherd Centre, which has been taking lorry-loads of supplies to help Ukrainian refugees in Poland. Many of our joinery, public services, adult and community and ESOL students have also been helping practically by sorting and packing items at the centre.
- Our students’ union has started a campaign, Us Against War, and is organising a number of fundraising activities to help UNICEF support victims of the invasion.