We must not let Russia’s aggression give rise to stigmatisation on campus
War and conflict often have serious consequences remote from the conflict zones, as countless historical and contemporary examples show. Antipathies, hatred and intimidation are transferred from the theatre of conflict to other geographical areas where people representing opposing sides of the conflict live and work. Friends, relatives, workmates or students may suddenly become hostile towards each other, to the extent that they regard each other as enemies. This, in turn, can lead to threatening behaviour, discrimination, stigmatisation and even outright harassment.
Signals are now reaching me that people of Russian background have been subjected to victimisation and verbal abuse here on our campuses. We still lack detailed information on these events.
I’ve addressed this matter before, also here on this blog: the Russian invasion of Ukraine must be condemned in the sharpest possible terms, but we must not let it incite discrimination, bullying or stigmatisation of individuals. Responsibility for the war rests solely on the Russian regime – not on Russians who also happen to be active at KI and residents in Sweden.
That war and conflict give rise to polarisation and threatening behaviour elsewhere and on our own campuses is totally unacceptable.
The campuses of KI are home to students and staff from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Some are here only temporarily, others have lived and worked here for years. Recently, we have welcomed researchers and doctoral students fleeing the war in Ukraine. It goes without saying that we as a university must do all we can to support and help our colleagues and enable them to continue their work in Sweden.
I urge you all
Let me be clear: I urge everyone to act responsibly, to treat others – regardless of background – as we ourselves want to be treated, and not to turn a blind eye to the spread of racism, discrimination and bullying. We have a duty to help build a cordial work and learning environment on our campuses and on our common digital and social platforms. Don’t hesitate to report any incidents or inappropriate behaviour on the Staff Portal.
KI has zero tolerance towards all forms of discrimination and is committed to maintaining an inclusive working and study environment in which everyone is treated with respect and given ample opportunity to thrive and develop. You can find out more on the KI website about how we promote equal rights and opportunities and seek to combat all forms of discrimination, harassment, victimisation and exclusion,