OPINION: WSU supports students affected by Russia-Ukraine war

University doing everything possible to support students, scholars in need.



The office of International Programs, the office of the Dean of Students, the International Students and Scholars office are all working together to turn this crisis moment around for everyone impacted.


Russia’s senseless violence is nothing but an act of profanation and fear-mongering. People all around the world are affected by this crisis, especially students in abroad programs – including the ones here at WSU. 

“Once everything started, we sent out messages both to our Ukrainians and our Russians in collaboration with the Dean of Students,” said Cody Tornow, assistant director for International Retention. “We want to support you. Here are some of the resources, here are some of the connections, here are some of the people that you can reach out to, to get access to any resources.” 

The Office of International Programs held a listening session with the Office of Dean of Students where students could express some of the difficulties they were going through. They also did a follow-up a couple of days later, setting students up with any connections and resources they needed. 

“The biggest thing that we wanted to make sure for all the students that have been impacted is that everyone had access to the basic needs such as housing and food,” Tornow said. “We also made sure to reach out to either their professors or whoever their supervisor is to provide the impacted students with a little bit of support – extra time, a little leeway or just check in with them to make sure that they’re doing OK.” 

A lot of these initial efforts are just giving everyone the space they need to have a conversation and to make requests for their needs. 

“Talk to us,” said Kate Hellmann, director of International Student and Scholar Services. “You don’t need to know the answers to your questions. We will try and find resources and connections that we can.”

In terms of financial support, the Office of International Programs said that any individuals who do not have outside funding will be supported on a case-by-case basis and the availability of internal funding. 

A recent statement of support from WSU specifically mentions the following resources for impacted individuals:

“We will tap every resource humanly possible to help everyone who is in a crisis, being inclusive of the fact that there are a number of students and scholars that are living through an active crisis,” Hellmann said.

WSU has stepped up in every way possible to support its students and scholars in this unprecedented situation. 

This is one of the special things about being at this university – whether a teacher provides flexibility, whether that be the Office of Dean of Students or international programs.

WSU is recognizing the impact of major moments around the world and surpassing expectations to support affected students, knowing that it is needed and not knowing what is coming next.