Associates of Idyllwild Arts Foundation (IAF) President Michael Slocum has shared a message from IAF President Pamela Jordan regarding Idyllwild Arts Academy (IAA) students from Ukraine and Russia. In it she thanks the many who have reached out and offered to help students and families whose lives have been upended by the conflict and international sanctions.
Jordan reported that all of the families in Ukraine were “safe and are grateful for the love and support that their student is receiving from the Idyllwild Arts community.” The situation is sensitive and IAA has declined to specify how many students are affected for safety reasons.
Jordan said IAA is “prepared to support our seniors from Ukraine and Russia who need financial assistance to complete the school year. This may include tuition balances and fees for senior activities such as graduation, prom, senior trip, transportation, and more. As of now, all students have reported having plans for spring
break that will keep them in the United States. We do not yet know if homestays will be needed for students over the summer.”
A fund was established for those students who may need help completing their high school education here. Those who can are asked to consider a donation to IAF’s Response Fund at https://idyllwildarts.org/responsefund/ or email questions to [email protected] “I am sure that families with extraordinary needs will feel the love thousands of miles away,” she said.
Across the country and worldwide, schools, mostly colleges, are faced with sensitive decisions regarding the future of young people. UniversityBusiness.com reports over 5,000 Russian and 1,700 Ukranian students attending “institutes of higher education in the United States…” and points out that the two groups often mingle on campus. Until this last month, there was no reason not to think of each other as neighbors with whom they had many things in common. A quote from Kiki Caruson, interim vice president of USF World at the University of South Florida summed it up: “…they’re friends first and representatives of their countries second.”
Some historic context for this comes from Jason Czyz, co-president of the Institute of International Education (IEE). “[I]f you look at the history of our relations — the IIE was actually founded during the Russian Revolution — throughout the Cold War, the good and the bad, our universities have remained open to Russian students. My guess is that whole cultural and educational exchange between our countries will continue.”
The Associated Press (AP) has reported that U.S. colleges are pulling U.S. students out of study-abroad programs in Russia and ending research partnerships, telling Americans in Russia to book flights home, while promising to support Russian students on campus.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) has called for “kicking every Russian student out of the United States,” but this idea has not gained much traction. The AP story includes a quote from Barbara Snyder, president of the American Association of Universities: “In our country, we do not punish children for the crimes of their parents… You have to think carefully about the consequences of targeting people because of their country of origin.”
All this just as international study is rebounding from two years of pandemic.