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MSU Texas professors discuss Ukraine-Russia war with community

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 10:45 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Four weeks into the Russian invasion of Ukraine, faculty members at Midwestern State University sat down to host a roundtable discussion Wednesday in hopes of helping the community better understand the conflict.

Five faculty members including made it their responsibility to use their expertise to share their knowledge with the community:

  • Dr. John Ashbrook, chair of the History department
  • Rebekah Dowd, assistant professor of political science
  • Dr. Kirsten Lodge, professor of English
  • Dr. Michael Mills, director of Global Education
  • Mike Rattanasengchanh, assistant professor of History

During the roundtable event, some even shared that they had personal ties to Ukraine and Russia.

“I lived in Ukraine for a while my first husband was Ukrainian and I also lived in Russia,” Lodge said.

Inside the Akin Auditorium, students, community members and fellow faculty listened to five faculty members as they discussed the Ukraine and Russia conflict.

“I’m very interested in what’s happening in Ukraine because I think sooner or later we’re going to be feeling the effects, maybe deeply, about what’s going on,” Lynn Hoggard, a Wichita Falls resident, said.

“This crisis has been escalating over many years due to the relationship that Ukraine has decided to develop with western states, including the European Union and the United States,” Dowd said.

Years of studies in each of their particular fields have allowed these MSU Texas faculty members to give different perspectives and clear up any misconceptions.

“We hear a lot in the media that Putin is crazy, but I’m hoping to stress from my part that there is a plan,” Ashbrook said. “It may not be a great plan for Western Europe, Central Europe or the United States, but he definitely has a strategy that he wants to carry out. I want to make sure people understand that instead of just accepting him as a crazy player on the political stage.”

Dowd said these plans could impact Americans economically and politically, so the panel wanted to make sure those living in Texoma learned as much information as possible.

“It’s something that is going to impact all of us. It’s something we’re reading about, it’s something that as Professor Dowd had mentioned has a trickle-down effect,” Mills said.

“I think it’s great, that’s what a university is supposed to be and do,” Hoggard said. “They’re the ones who have more information than the rest of us. By being here, they can tell us things that we didn’t know or haven’t seen yet.”

“We want to open up our university to people that would only consider this a place for professors and students so that they can see that we’re here for them as well,” Ashbrook said.

Ashbrook said this is the first time that MSU Texas faculty have come together for a roundtable discussion of current events, and they hope it will be the first of many.

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