UT should publicly support student interest in the Russia-Ukraine War

Justice DuBois, Columnist

On February 24th,  Russia invaded Ukraine. Since then, the events of the Russia-Ukraine War have been covered all throughout the news. This tumultuous event has created anxiety and grief for many people around the world. Although there has been continuous news of the events in the U.S. and overseas, UT has remained silent.

UT needs to publicly support Ukraine and encourage student learning about the Russia-Ukraine war by publicizing information on social media, promoting educational panels and spreading awareness. 

Many students around campus have shown their support for Ukraine by posting information on social media, displaying flyers with ways students can show their support and by promoting websites with relevant information. 

Skylar Scott, radio-television-film junior, showed his solidarity with Ukraine by hanging up a Ukrainian flag off the balcony rails of his dorm in Whitis Court (LLE). 

“(Students should) promote the sentiment here that we all want, you know, democracy, freedom, equality, things like that. … We could kind of spread that by just showing support for it, just being educated on the topic and knowing what could happen if worst comes to worst,” Scott said.

Scott also addressed the importance of staying informed and promoting democratic values in order to denounce Vladimir Putin’s accused war crimes and support Ukraine. This is especially worrying to Scott because he has family in Germany, and Russia’s invasions have had widespread effects on Europe.  

The Liberal Arts’s Department of Slavic Studies & European Studies has been hosting panels and discussions regarding the topic. However, these events are not well advertised, so many students miss out on opportunities to learn about the relationship between Ukraine and Russia and what led to the war. 

Steven Seegel, professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies and historian for the UT Center, has been involved in many of the College of Liberal Arts’ events that attempt to inform and educate students regarding the history and development of the Russia-Ukraine War. 

“I’m on Twitter all day long … trying to inform the public, students, journalists, diplomats, academics, people who don’t know anything about Ukraine, the language, literature, the people,” Seegel said. “My Texas students don’t quite know what to make of this, and many of them are scared.”

Many students are fearful and confused about the war and its effects as the lack of information and false coverage can make it hard to know what to believe. UT can prevent further anxiety by educating students on what is actually going on in Eastern Europe. UT should also make students aware of ways that they can support Ukraine.

The severity of this war calls for UT as an institution to support Ukraine and spread awareness to students. 

“UT does not publicize things well, but try as best you can to pay attention to upcoming events, try to talk to professors who are experts in this field, support Ukrainian science and scholarship,” Seegel said. “Through the power of yourself and your peers, you can make an impact despite the publicity.”

DuBois is a Public Relations and Sociology freshman from Killeen, Texas.