An American liberal arts college known for its artsy hipsters and A-list alumni was banned from Russia on Monday after being declared “undesirable” and “threat” to “order and security,” state media reported.
Bard College’s semester abroad in St. Petersburg program “threatens the constitutional order and security of Russia,” the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said in a statement reported by TASS.
Russian law prohibits groups with the legally binding label “undesirable” from operating within the country’s borders, according to the US Mission in Russia.
“Following the examination of materials, received on June 21, the Prosecutor General’s Office decided to recognize the Bard College foreign-based educational NGO undesirable on the Russian territory,” the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said.
Notable Bard College alumni include “Saturday Night Live” star Chevy Chase, Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys and journalist Ronan Farrow.
The elite school’s main campus is in Annandale-on-Hudson in upstate New York, about three hours north of New York City.
Students enrolled in Bard’s Russia program study at St. Petersburg State University for one or two semesters, according to the college’s website. The program is not scheduled to happen this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the website said.
Writer Masha Gessen, a prominent US-based critic of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, joined the school in April 2020 as a “distinguished writer in residence,” according to a contemporary press release.
A rep for Bard College did not immediately respond to a request for comment.