It’s not too late to save Brazil’s universities and its democracy
Posted February 28, 2020
A piece by SAR scholar Debora Diniz for Times Higher Education.
In the summer of 2018, in the lead-up to Brazil’s presidential elections, I received an email. The senders said I would be shot. They said if I went into hiding, they would kill my family. They told me that if they couldn’t get to my family, they would massacre students, faculty and staff at my institution, the University of Brasília, and the research institute I co-founded.
Dozens of my university colleagues were copied in the email.
As a scholar of bioethics whose work had recently informed a Supreme Court hearing challenging Brazil’s abortion laws, I had become a target for online harassment by supporters of then candidate Jair Bolsonaro and his campaign against human rights and liberal democracy.
Threats against my life and those around me forced me to leave my academic post and, eventually, the country. They also stoked fear at the university that prompted several staff members to take administrative leave.
Read more here.