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Letter: U.S. universities must ensure academic support staff's safety in Afghanistan

To the editors of the Chronicle and my academic colleagues,


While many administrators and full time academic faculty in many international schools, from K-12 to universities, have been evacuated from Kabul and other major cities, academic support staff has been either neglected or told to seek help elsewhere. For example, I have been informed AUAF has offered evacuation spots for the academic support employee but not for their families. The offering of safety to these employees on the condition they abandon their families in order to secure their own safety is an incredibly immoral and unethical action. These employees are considered collaborators by the Taliban and will suffer reprisals at the Taliban's hands, which has included lethal violence to the family members of the accused. What will happen to maintenance and other staff is unclear at present. I encourage you to contact your school's President and insist they join other school Presidents in putting pressure on Biden and his staff to evacuate academic support employees who worked in International schools, especially those funded by national governments with a presence in Afghanistan. The power of such a unified action by leading academic administrators and famous academic intellectuals is immense and the safety of colleagues at all levels of participation in higher education deserve our focused support. All the schools and organizations that supported international higher education in Afghanistan have an obligation, in my opinion, to muster as much influence and power as possible to insure their safety after their service to higher education and the people of Afghanistan. 

Ronald Hugar is a former professor at the American University of Afghanistan. 

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