Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
Maine College of Art & Design (MECA&D) stands in solidarity with the Ukrainian people as they resist invasion and fight for their freedom in the face of existential danger. We join people from all over the world in condemning the attack launched by Russia—a violent, unprovoked intimidation that assaults democracy and threatens our values.
Our hearts and minds are with the innocent civilians caught in the midst of these hostilities. We know some of you have relatives and friends facing imminent danger there. I am inspired by the members of our extended MECA&D community who have opened their homes to the Ukrainian people seeking safety in neighboring countries. I am very grateful to the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center whose volunteers, staff, and leadership are helping to welcome refugees and asylum seekers who have been displaced by violence and conflict.
As we watch this senseless destruction with sorrow and horror, we can also take action. As artists, we can confront efforts to diminish the human spirit by creating work that sparks empathy, compassion, and hope. As community members, we can take part in the programs and events across our city and country to help foster greater understanding. On behalf of MECA&D, I have joined the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration in calling for the government to issue a temporary protected status designation and Special Students Relief for Ukrainian nationals residing in or studying here in the US.
Our faculty are planning a teach-in during the coming weeks to share historical and political contexts with our community. Our counseling team is available to meet with students dealing with increased stress or anxiety; faculty and staff have 24/7 access to phone consultations with licensed mental health professionals through our Employee Assistance Program.
During the past two years, we have all faced some of the most challenging moments of our time with tremendous grace, maturity, and perspective. Together, we will continue to move forward as a community of higher learning strengthened by each other. We are inspired by the valor and bravery of the Ukrainian people and the courage of all innocent refugees the world over. I remain hopeful that diplomatic and peacemaking efforts will bring security and peace to the region and to the world.