An Iowa State University led effort to develop community colleges in the Republic of Georgia has been put at risk by the conflict between Russia and its neighbor. One college in Gori, a city of 45,000 located just 20 miles from the disputed separatist region of South Ossetia, had already opened for classes.
A retired ISU political science professor, Ardith Maney, coordinates the community college effort. She says the school building in Gori remains intact. "It sounds like they may have suffered some loss of windows, but basically it’s okay," Maney said. A couple of staff members are acting as guards. "Two of the staff have been living in the building for the past week to discourage any looting or to explain what the building is if the Russian invasion force were to come that close by," Maney said.
Two Georgians who are working on the project were in Ames when the war broke out. Maney says they have arrived safely home and are out of danger in the southern part of the Republic. "The big problem is what’s happened to our students, how are the teachers and what’s going to happen to Gori," Maney said.
Maney and her collaborators have plans to open six more community colleges in Georgia. She pledges they will move ahead with those plans.