On Thursday, Feb. 24, University President Peter Salovey called for a Zoom vigil in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, stating that he is “shocked by and [condemns]” Vladimir Putin’s actions. It was a brief message for a grim moment. The armed conflict, which began just over 12 hours earlier, came after years of escalating tensions between the two countries and has since resulted in thousands of casualties. We at the Editorial Board support the Yale administration’s response to Russia’s invasion but question why they have not been similarly vocal about previous global crises that have impacted its community members. As an institution known around the world, and one that has pledged itself to liberalism and humanity for the past 300 years, our school has both a stage and a responsibility to speak out.
It is tempting for our community to forget or downplay the urgency of events halfway around the world. From the safe viewing distance of Twitter news feeds and The New York Times’ morning headlines, many of us are merely spectators. However, Yale, as one of the world’s leading liberal arts universities and with a student body it lauds as representing over 120 countries, has a particular responsibility to speak out against injustices. To students personally affected by countless global crises, Yale’s silence has often been just as loud as its outspoken messages on the reprehensible invasion of Ukraine.
We are members of a planet that is larger than the scope of our daily gripes about test curves or classes. While Yale’s divestment in Russian stocks should be praised, we expect them to take similar actions in response to other global and regional issues. Yale has a track record of silence over other events in the past: it has kept quiet throughout China’s genocide of Uyghur Muslims. It said nothing in the wake of recent forced evictions of Palestinians from the East Jerusalem neighborhood Sheikh Jarrah, an event that sparked a wave of violence against civilians.
We encourage the administration to consistently uphold its values and commit itself to listening to its student body. Be bold, and persistently advocate for justice.
At the Yale Daily News, we welcome any and all suggestions for ways to help Ukraine and encourage you to read Letter 2.28, in which Joseph Doran ’20 offers a write-up of organizations you may wish to donate to. Offer your support and reach out to friends. The world is only as strong as the bonds of our community.