U.S. Universities Exit Academic Partnerships with Russia over Ukraine War

Following Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) decision to end over a decade-long academic partnership with Russia, several colleges and universities have recently announced plans to cut ties with the country over military actions in Ukraine, with more expected to follow suit.  

In October 2011, MIT and the Russian government began a partnership which led to the creation of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow. The high-tech campus was a joint effort between MIT and Russia to “build a unique and pioneering academic center in Russia.” 

MIT notified Skoltech it was terminating the collaboration with the graduate research Russian institution on February 25. MIT President L. Rafael Reif in agreement with senior leadership decided to end the collaboration “in light of the unacceptable military actions against Ukraine by the Russian government.”   

In the statement published on the MIT Skoltech Program’s website, MIT announced that the decision is “a rejection of the actions of the Russian government in Ukraine.” Adding: “We take it with deep regret because of our great respect for the Russian people and our profound appreciation for the contributions of the many extraordinary Russian colleagues we have worked with.” 

Sadly, this decision has a direct impact on principal investigators (PIs) and MIT, who have been leading Skoltech program projects as well as on their students. MIT continues in close communication with PIs offering guidance to make sure that the students involved are able to complete their research and academic work without interruption.

Faculty across the University of Colorado campuses stopped collaborating in all research projects with Russia. They stopped conducting research funded by Russian entities and are not sending funds to Russian entities for shared projects. Showing solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the University of Colorado is taking steps to exit from all its investment in publicly traded Russian companies. 

In an open letter to its students, Middlebury College announced it is suspending its Russian study abroad program; the college is asking students in Russia to return to the U.S. as soon as possible. The University of Arkansas advises students studying abroad not to travel to countries bordering Ukraine.

In Pennsylvania, in a simple yet thoughtful statement which speaks volumes, the University of Scranton lit its gateway sign with the Ukrainian flag.  

Other U.S. universities showing support to Ukraine include Stanford University, Cornell University, and Michigan State University

More than 500 college presidents have asked the federal government to issue Temporary Protected Status and Special Student Relief for Ukrainians studying or living in the United States. This would offer protection against deportation, giving flexibility to almost 2,000 Ukrainian international students.