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UPDATE Monday 11 April: Consequences of war in Ukraine for Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

11 April 2022

RUAS is preparing for the inflow of students from Ukraine. Attention to cyber security due to higher online threat. A Q&A has been set up for staff and students with current information, rules, and regulations.

In this update, we will inform you about current developments about the war in Ukraine that are of importance to our institution.

We can only imagine the impact the ongoing war is having on our students and staff from Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. Our (confidential) counsellors and Study Career Coaches are here to help you if you need mental support. We ask managers and lecturers to be mindful of this matter as well. For dealing with possible tensions in the classroom or the workplace, please click here.

If you have additional questions or want to find out more about helping students or employees from Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia, please contact your manager or counsellor, or the Centre of International Affairs (CoIA) via Coia-info@hr.nl 

Taskforce set up for inflow refugee students

Given the numbers of refugees coming to Western European countries - including the Netherlands - it is likely that some are young people seeking admission to higher education. We want to be well prepared for that situation. For this reason, we have set up a task force, which consists of various disciplines within RUAS such as: SSC, CoIA, and Student Welfare. The taskforce investigates what is needed in terms of residence status, admissibility, language, support and so on, to enable intake into our study programmes. Study programmes that have questions about the intake of refugee students from Ukraine can contact the task force via Coia-info@hr.nl.

Emergency Fund

Students from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus who find themselves in financial difficulties, as a result of the war, can apply to the counsellor's office for possible support from the Emergency Fund. Students can contact  their counsellor, and employees can contact their manager. More information can be found on this Hint page.

Report initiatives for Ukraine to CCMT

We can look back with satisfaction on the successful dinners, during which students were able to exchange ideas about the war situation in a safe atmosphere. We are receiving more and more reports of initiatives being developed by study programmes, students, or colleagues to lend a helping hand to people affected by the war. We warmly welcome this. However, we would ask you to submit these ideas and initiatives to the CCMT through your dean/director in good time, so that we can maintain an overview of the various internal activities. 

Focus on Cybersecurity

The war situation in Ukraine is also increasing the online threat. In particular, we have recently seen an increase of phishing activities at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. We therefore request that you be extra vigilant when opening any potentially suspicious e-mails, especially any web links and attachments in such messages. Have you received a suspicious e-mail or are you not entirely sure? Please forward the original message to abuse@hr.nl. Also, if you have accidentally clicked on a suspicious link or opened a suspicious attachment, please report it so we can be of assistance.

Q&A for war developments affecting education

We would like to draw your attention to this Q&A section on Hint where we will post information about developments affecting education. For example, you will find current information about regulations and provisions from the government, but also the latest information and provisions from Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. There are also a number of issues that are still being discussed nationally and that have not yet been clarified, such as tuition fees. We will inform you as soon as additional information is provided.

UPDATE Monday 7 March

Ukrainian, Russian, and Belarusian students and staff who study and work in the Netherlands can count on support. Collaboration with institutions in Russia and Belarus shall cease. 

As previously indicated, we are monitoring the war situation in Ukraine and informing you of developments that are relevant to our educational community. The ongoing Russian military attacks on Ukraine have shocked us deeply. We view this as a direct attack on freedom and democracy, fundamental values for allowing education and research to take place freely.

Freeze on partnerships with institutions, no travel or student exchange

We have therefore decided, like other Dutch educational institutions, to freeze all formal and institutional collaborations with educational institutions and research institutes in the Russian Federation and Belarus with immediate effect until further notice. This also applies to cooperation with recruitment agencies in those countries. Consequently, there will be no student exchanges or trips for the time being. We are acting in response to an urgent appeal from Robbert Dijkgraaf, Minister of Education, Culture and Science. We support this appeal, but also regret the consequences, because education and research can flourish through international collaboration and the open exchange of knowledge, insights, and ideas.

Support for individuals who speak out against the war

We will continue to work, in so far as it is possible and appropriate, with Russian and Belarusian researchers, teachers and students. Many of them have publicly criticised the invasion at the risk of their own lives. Therefore, we want to give our staff the opportunity to continue any existing personal contacts, if appropriate. It must be assessed on a case-by-case basis whether personal contact and collaboration with Russian and Belarusian contacts can be continued. You can contact Integral Safety or CoIA for assistance with this assessment. They are responsible for coordinating questions to the National Contact Point for Knowledge Security. We are currently making an inventory of our research partners, and how collaboration with these partners will be continued.  For students in these countries, it will remain possible to participate in educational activities offered by us online.

Assistance for students and staff from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus

Students and employees from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus are part of our educational institution. The impact of the war on them is immense and can also have financial consequences. That is why, as a university of applied sciences, we offer help to staff and students from these countries who live in the Netherlands and who have (acute) financial problems as a result of the war (for example, because they no longer have access to their bank accounts and financial transactions are impossible). Students who are affected by such issues can appeal to the RUAS emergency fund. Students can contact their counsellor in this regard. Employees with financial problems can report to their manager. You can also indicate to your counsellor or manager whether you need legal advice due to the situation that has arisen, in order to put you in touch with the right people within the organisation.

National coordinating centre for assistance and support services

Dutch educational and research institutions are working together to offer a safe place to Ukrainian students, lecturers and researchers who have fled their homeland. A coordinating centre will be set up to receive both students and staff members. This will ensure that they can find a place within Dutch institutions as soon as possible. More information will follow soon.

Termination of Gazprom contract

Through a tender, the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences has a contract for the supply of gas from the Russian company Gazprom for our RDM and Karel Doormanhof locations. We will terminate this contract as soon as possible and work with another supplier. We are currently investigating the possibilities and consequences.

As far as we can see, there are no financial partnerships with Russian or Belarusian parties other than those mentioned in this update. However, we cannot completely exclude it, due to possible payment constructions entered into by them with Dutch or foreign organisations. Our basic principle is to terminate the cooperation with these suppliers from these two countries as soon as possible.

Monitoring Cyber Security

The Dutch research and educational organisations maintain close contacts with their fellow institutes in Ukraine. If they can make use of the knowledge or contacts of Dutch researchers, these researchers will make such knowledge available. For example, knowledge about cybersecurity or acute care and trauma care. In addition, cyber security in the Netherlands is monitored in a national partnership. IT specialists of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences are affiliated and closely follow the developments to guarantee the safety of our systems.

Questions or need for discussion

The worrying situation can lead to difficult conversations in the classroom and in the workplace; you will find information on how to deal with any potential tensions here. If you feel the need to talk about the situation, do not hesitate. Students can talk to their Study Career Coach or Counsellor, and employees can turn to their manager.

Do you have any other questions, or would you like to know more about help for students and staff from Ukraine, Russia, or Belarus? Please contact your manager, your counsellor or COIA via CoIA-info@hr.nl. 

Update 24 February

In today's news we have all heard that the situation between Russia and Ukraine has deteriorated: they are at war. It is shocking to have to write this. By means of this message, we want to show our sympathy to all our students and staff who are directly or indirectly affected by this terrible situation.

If you feel the need to discuss the situation, please do so. Students can reach out to their Study Career Coach, or counsellor. Staff members can reach out to their manager.

Our Centre of International Affairs (COIA) is monitoring the situation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel advice. For Ukraine, the travel advice is red, which means that travel for Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences is not allowed. This also applies to Belarus because the travel advice for that country is orange. Despite the fact that the travel advice for Russia is yellow at the moment, we urgently advise against travelling to Russia for study or work-related purposes due to the rapidly developing situation and possible effects of sanctions on travel opportunities. Keep an eye on further announcements.

What is happening now in Ukraine is terrible. We can imagine that this worrying situation is leading to conversations in the classroom and in the workplace and may possibly lead to tensions. Remember that wars are rarely if ever started by ordinary citizens, but by leaders who send men and women to war. As we strive to provide a safe learning and working environment for all our students and staff, we ask everyone to engage in conversations on this topic in a respectful manner.

Lecturers confronted with difficult conversations in the classroom can make use of the manual Controversial and emotional topics in the classroom.

Ron Bormans
President Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences

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