Educational panels aren’t enough, do more to support Ukrainian students

Morgan Dowler | Cartoonist

By The Editorial Board

In the constant stream of Ukraine-related news that we’ve all seen over the last month or so, there may have been one piece of “smaller” news that flew under your radar. At the end of last month, Texas A&M University announced it would cover tuition and fees as well as certain living expenses for all Ukrainian students, starting next fall, across the 11 Texas A&M campuses.

Although there is not a massive population of Ukrainian students in the Texas A&M system, this is awesome. At the time of the announcement, Texas A&M estimated that there were at least 15 students who were eligible for this aid. While that number is not huge, this is an easy way for the university to do what it can in terms of localizing a problem that can feel very far from home.

At Baylor, we pride ourselves on being the country’s preeminent Christian research university. We talk about using our faith to fuel projects that make us a light in a world of darkness. Your students and faculty are putting together great programs like Bears Helping Babies to do their part. As great as that is, as an institution, we have to do more.

This is not to say Baylor is doing nothing. In conjunction with offering its thoughts and prayers, Baylor has held panels in an effort to help educate the Baylor community on the complexities of the conflict. The university has also provided personal care to the small population of Ukrainian students on campus.

Yes, the power of prayer is very real. Yes, it is important that as a community, we are educated on the issues that could have a monumental impact on our world. However, it is possible to do more. We aren’t asking for a full-tuition write-off, but to provide one panel with little follow through isn’t enough.

In the aforementioned panel, Baylor’s Dr. Sergiy Kudelia, associate professor of political science, joined virtually from Switzerland to offer his advice on how the university can help. Yet, our response as a university has been very limited.

Kudelia said the following to the Lariat last month: “I very much appeal to the Baylor administration, to the president, to the provost, to speak actively against it and to support those students. I know there are several students on campus from Ukraine, so support them, reach out to them and provide them with all types of mental health assistance that they certainly need at this point.”

Again, the university has taken to supporting those students, but speaking actively against the war as a top-tier university has slipped through the cracks, and people are noticing. Yes, there are certain federal policies that must be followed in providing monetary support for a specified group of students, but why is Baylor hesitating to be open and public in its support for its students?

Hebrews 13:1-2 reads, “Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

Obviously, this is not the only time the Bible references our duty as Christians to help those in need. However, we feel there is no better way to make our point than with that piece of scripture.

We love you, Baylor. We love your mission. We love the efforts you make to bring light into the world. It’s not too late to make a change and avoid missing the mark on this one. Take this chance to “Give Light” before it passes you by.