Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements. Scholars at Risk identifies situations of concern on its own and welcomes reports submitted by faculty, students and volunteers at participating higher education institutions. Subscribe to SAR’s weekly media review.
The below articles have been featured in all media reviews published in 2023.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Gaza war drives new wave of academic emigration
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 11/9
The ongoing war in Gaza is likely to result in a wave of new academic emigration from Israel and the occupied West Bank, according to non-profit organisations and scholars working closely with communities there. Read more.
UNITED STATES/CHINA: Republican lawmakers try to restart investigation of China ties
Karin Fischer, Latitudes/Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/8
Congressional Republicans are trying to revive the China Initiative, the federal-government investigation of academic and economic ties with China that cast a pall over international research collaborations. Read more.
ZIMBABWE: Student pens story of hell in maximum security prison
Clemence Manyukwe, University World News, 11/2
University of Zimbabwe student union Organising Secretary Gamuchirai Chaburumunda was arrested and thrown into the country’s notorious Chikurubi Maximum Female Prison among murderers and robbers for staging a demonstration on campus. Read more.
HONG KONG: Dismay over university’s sacking of scholar denied a visa
Mimi Leung, University World News, 11/1
Academics in Hong Kong are dismayed at the dismissal of Hong Kong academic Rowena He from her post at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) just two days after the Hong Kong authorities denied her a visa allowing her to return to her teaching post at the university. Read more.
PALESTINE: Palestinian campus death toll passes 400, says ministry
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 11/1
Learning of nearly 90,000 students in Gaza Strip disrupted as Israeli reprisals force universities to suspend operations. Read more.
GLOBAL: Global ‘snapshot’ of attacks on academia released by SAR
Nathan M Greenfield, University World News, 11/1
Hundreds of attacks across 66 countries on scholars, students and higher education institutions have taken place, ranging from the deadly assault by a suicide bomber on a Kabul educational centre to student abductions in Nigeria and arrests of outspoken professors in Afghanistan. These are just the cases that are known, according to a new report by the New York-based Scholars at Risk (SAR) network. Read More.
UNITED STATES / CHINA: Political pressures and funding threats led to a wave of Confucius Institute closures
Karin Fischer, Latitudes/Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/1
Political pressures and the potential loss of federal funding led colleges to close their Confucius Institutes, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. And while colleges sought new sources of financial support, many reported reductions in Chinese language, cultural, or educational programming after the Chinese-government-funded centers ceased operating. Read More.
GLOBAL: Academics targeted by authoritarian regimes ‘to quell dissent’
Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 10/31
Increased persecution of scholars in Iran and Afghanistan led to more than 400 attacks being perpetrated against academia globally, says Scholars at Risk report. Read More.
ISRAEL: Palestinian students suspended by Israeli universities
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 10/31
Israeli universities have suspended scores of Palestinian students amid reports of mob violence, while lecturers criticising the country’s bombardment of Gaza are left fearing that they could lose their positions. Read More.
Free to Think 2023: Suppression of dissent and spread of illiberalism threatens academic freedom and endangers democracy
Scholars at Risk, 10/31
Scholars at Risk (SAR) announces the release of Free To Think 2023, a report analyzing 409 attacks on the higher education community in 66 countries and territories, between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023. The report highlights how attacks on academic freedom threaten democratic society and social progress more broadly, and calls on stakeholders to create robust protections for scholars, students, and higher education institutions.
Read the report> Learn more>
IRAN: The killing of Armita Gravand; Intensification of the security environment in universities [PERSIAN]
Deutsche Welle, 10/30
The killing of Armita Gravand met with the protest reaction of many students from universities, including Amir Kabir, Saneti Sharif and Al Zahra. Students have reported the tightening of the security environment. The process of firing protesting professors in universities continues. Read More.
UNITED KINGDOM: Donelan’s UKRI letter over Israel comments sparks free speech row
Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 10/30
Science secretary Michelle Donelan has sparked a free speech row after urging UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to disband an equality advisory body over “unacceptable” social media posts by its members on the Israel-Gaza conflict. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Colleges Are Struggling to Respond to Antisemitism. Now the Feds Are Stepping In.
Charlotte Matherly, Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/30
Amid growing concerns about antisemitic rhetoric at colleges, the Biden administration announced on Monday new efforts aimed at antisemitism and related violence on campuses. Read More.
HONG KONG: Hong Kong university fires Tiananmen historian after visa denial
Gigi Lee and Siyan Cheung, Radio Free Asia, 10/30
A Hong Kong university has fired a university professor who penned a book on the 1989 Tiananmen massacre – discussion of which is banned in China – after she was denied the renewal of her work visa following a denunciation in the Communist Party-backed media. Read More.
UKRAINE: Ukraine seeks international support to stem brain drain
Brendan O’Malley, University World News, 10/28
Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Education and Science, Mychailo Wynnyckyj, has called on Western universities to stem the drain of talent over its borders by refocusing support on study and research programmes in Ukraine. Read More.
UNITED STATES: DeSantis Appoints DEI Critics to Florida University’s Board
Josh Moody, Inside Higher Ed, 10/27
The latest round of university trustee appointments from Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida includes two notable critics of diversity, equity and inclusion practices in higher education who are joining Florida Polytechnic University’s board, part of the state’s ongoing quest to eliminate DEI practices in public institution. Read More.
UNITED STATES/ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Candidates, elected officials threaten to revoke visas of student protesters
Karin Fischer, Latitudes/Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/25
With tensions running high on college campuses over the war in the Middle East, Donald J. Trump and several other Republican presidential candidates have called for deporting international students who express support for Palestinians or criticize the Israeli government’s military response in Gaza. Read More.
PALESTINE: Palestinian campuses head into abyss as Israeli retaliation grows
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 10/25
Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and crackdown in the West Bank have led to complete shutdown of or serious disruptions, respectively, to universities in both territories – with the ongoing war posing a devastating setback to Palestinian higher education in the long run, according to scholars there. Read More.
HONG KONG: Universities under pressure as academics head for exits
Chan Ho-him, Financial Times, 10/24
Shrinking freedom and fears of falling foul of sweeping security law push researchers to leave Chinese territory. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Why One College President Is Denouncing a Conservative Campus Group
Nell Gluckman, Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/23
The incident was not the first time that Turning Point, a right-wing group that advocates a Trump-brand of conservatism on college campuses through local chapters, has made headlines at Arizona State. But it has provoked an uncommonly biting response from the university’s longtime president, Michael Crow. Read More.
EVENT: Register now for the the Second Conference on Academic Freedom in the Americas
The Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (CAFA) is pleased to invite advocates, academics, and activists from the Americas to the Second Conference on Academic Freedom in the Americas to be held November 9 and 10 at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná-PUCPR in Curitiba, Brazil. Scholars at Risk is a founding partner of the Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas. Learn more and register >
RUSSIA: ‘Cultural Pogrom’: Putin’s St. Petersburg Alma Mater Purges Dissident Students, Faculty
Robert Coalson, RFE/RL, 10/22
St. Petersburg State University has stepped up expulsions of students and faculty who have spoken out against the war in Ukraine. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Coming Together Over the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Jessica Blake and Johanna Alonso, Inside Higher Education, 10/20
As the Mideast crisis deepens, some university officials are finding ways to foster dialogue and compassion among students on campus. Read More.
HONG KONG: ‘Undefined’ reputational damage clause worries students
Mimi Leung and Yojana Sharma, University World News, 10/20
Students at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) could be expelled or fined over any conduct or activities that are judged to bring the city’s top-ranked higher education institution into disrepute, according to new regulations brought in by the university after being approved by the city’s Legislative Council. Read More.
SUDAN: Reopening of universities prompts opposition and support
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 10/17
The Sudan Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research met with university leaders on 15 October to explain challenges related to the resumption of academic activities in the sector – amid resistance to an earlier ministerial decision to reopen all public and private institutions. Read More.
SENEGAL: Calls for reopening of UCAD, closed since June after riots
University World News, 10/19
Academics and students at the University Cheikh Anta Diop or UCAD, Senegal’s leading university, are demanding its reopening, after it and other universities were closed in June because of violent demonstrations over the imprisonment of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko in which nine people were killed. Read More.
FRANCE/IRAN: French-Iranian academic imprisoned for years in Iran returns to France
Associated Press, 10/18
French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, who was detained for years in Iran, has returned to France, the political sciences institute Sciences Po announced Wednesday. Read More.
POLAND: Poland’s election result sparks hope for brighter future for science and research
Anna Rzhevkina, Science|Business, 10/18
Academics in Poland say the election result could help research and higher education move towards a greater degree of academic freedom, better dialogue with the scientific community, and a gradual resolution of enduring problems in the sector. Read More.
NETHERLANDS: Dutch research security rules ‘virtually impossible to implement’
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 10/18
An early draft of the Knowledge Security Act suggests mass screening non-EU students and academics based on discipline, departing from an on-demand approach that won admiration abroad. Read More.
UNITED STATES: The Third Rail of Higher Ed: Some college presidents struggle to find the right words on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Others have opted not to speak at all.
Karin Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/18
As the violence in the Middle East entered a horrific and deadly chapter, with Hamas’s fatal attacks on Israeli civilians and retaliatory strikes on Gaza claiming Palestinian lives, college leaders on campuses across the United States tried to find the right words. Read More.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Universities call for ‘roots’ of crisis to be addressed
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 10/18
As the Israel-Palestine military conflict intensifies, a Palestinian university has called on the international community to help in addressing the root causes of the situation while another has urged Palestinians to submit evidence of potential war crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Read More.
SWEDEN: Sweden split on how to handle right-wing student’s ‘harassment’
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 10/16
A national debate over suspension policies in Sweden, triggered by the behavior of a right-wing blogger whose conduct in a seminar led to the cancellation of the course, has ended with the university deciding against barring him. Read More.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: On the Front Lines, an Israeli University Grieves and Readies for War
Jeffrey Gettleman, New York Times, 10/14
At Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, dorms turned into barracks and medical students manned emergency rooms. Dozens from the university community were killed in the Hamas attacks. Read More.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: ‘Everything’s come to a halt’: Israel-Hamas war stops research
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 10/13
Most research in Israel has stopped as the country switches to a war footing, with 360,000 army reservists called up and half of international staff at some universities evacuating. Read More.
AUSTRALIA: Students picking up the baton to improve the lot of academics at risk around the world
Monash University Lens, 10/13
In “Activism for academic freedom: Applied workshop in research advocacy,” a new unit at Monash University, students advocate for wrongfully imprisoned scholars around the world, in collaboration with Scholars at Risk. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Here’s What Florida’s Proposed Anti-DEI Regulations Would Ban
Adrienne Lu, Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/12
Florida’s new law to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education would effectively gut public colleges’ explicit efforts to improve the academic outcomes of women, LGBTQ students, and students of color, if a preliminary draft of a regulation to implement the law is adopted. Read More.
UNITED STATES/ETHIOPIA/TURKEY: UB welcomes its first Scholars at Risk
Charles Anzalone, UBNow, 10/10
An internationally known scholar facing immediate persecution in his native Ethiopia. A former tenured professor of early modern Ottoman history who was harassed, taken into custody and put on trial by a threatening Turkish government apparatus. These two scholars are the first who have joined the UB faculty as part of the university’s Scholars at Risk fellowship program. Read More.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: International students killed in escalating violence
Binod Ghimire and Shuriah Niazi, University World News, 10/10
With international students among the hundreds killed and injured in escalating violence since the attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on Saturday 7 October, governments are concerned about the safety of their citizens, including students in both Gaza and Israel. Read More.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Local students killed, university damaged by airstrike
Wagdy Sawahel and Brendan O’Malley, University World News, 10/10
Three Palestinian students have been reported killed and one university in Gaza has been severely damaged in the escalating conflict in Israel and Palestine, which by Tuesday morning, 10 October, had seen 900 people killed in the fighting in Israel and 700 in Gaza. Read More.
ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Israeli universities delay start of academic year after attacks
Ben Upton and Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 10/9
Israeli universities have delayed opening for the 2023-24 academic year by a week after hundreds of people were killed in militant attacks launched from the Gaza Strip. Read More.
UNITED KINGDOM: Ahmed ‘in listening mode’ as English free speech rules come in
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 10/9
The academic tasked with protecting free speech at English universities has told the sector that he and the Office for Students are “in listening mode” as they put flesh on the bones of a national complaints system. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Promoting Academic Freedom, from UChicago to… Hamline?
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Education, 10/9
Free expression debates continue at universities. And when traditional institutions don’t back speech, others, such as Heterodox Academy and Jordan Peterson’s new venture, step in. Read More.
NICARAGUA: Half of Nicaragua’s universities shut down by government
Tiya Thomas-Alexander, Times Higher Education, 10/9
Nicaragua has shut down or taken over nearly half of its higher education providers in the past two years, with academics believing that they are being “punished” for perceived opposition to the government of Daniel Ortega. Read More.
EUROPE: Fellowships for at-risk scholars can benefit whole societies
Michael Gaebel, University World News, 10/7
Michael Gaebel, director of higher education policy at the European University Association (EUA), writes about the need for fellowship schemes that support at-risk scholars and the MSCA4Ukraine initiative, launched in October 2022. Read More.
HUNGARY: Hungarian drama students under pressure over dual enrolments
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 10/6
Concerns about Hungary’s 2019 university governance changes have seen the country frozen out of European Union funding, but a group of drama students who took dual diplomas because of the changes are now facing scrutiny at home. Read More.
IRAN: Professors protest against regime’s campus interference
Shafigeh Shirazi, University World News, 10/5
In an unusual act of defiance, all but one member of the council of a professors’ union at a top Iranian university have resigned in protest at political interference in university matters and mounting repression by the regime. Read More.
IRAN: Scholars doubt Iran’s push for 320,000 international students
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 10/5
Iran has unveiled plans to triple the number of international students in the country to 320,000 by 2026 – an idea that academics say has more in common with hot air than reality. Read More.
SUDAN: War forces Sudanese science academy to appeal for help
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 10/4
As the fighting of the Sudanese Armed Forces and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces enters its sixth month, the Sudanese National Academy of Sciences (SNAS) has appealed to national, regional and international academic institutions to help university staff and students who have been displaced in the country’s armed conflict. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Is Study Abroad the Newest Front in the Academic Boycott of Israel?
Karin Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, 10/2
A study-abroad program at the University of Illinois at Chicago has become the latest flashpoint in the debate over academic ties with Israel. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Texas A&M Tries to Turn the Page from Its Summer of Scandal
Erin Gretzinger, Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/29
How a ‘top down’ leadership culture weakened shared governance, leaving the institution vulnerable. Read More.
SOUTHEAST ASIA: CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
Scholars at Risk invites applications from candidates for a Regional Director position and Host Institution role that will develop, lead, and support a regional coalition that conducts activities aimed at promoting, mainstreaming, and strengthening academic freedom in Southeast Asia. Applications are due October 15, 2023.
MYANMAR: Junta arrests family members to pressure student dissidents
Padone, University World News, 9/28
The father of Kyaw Ko Ko, an activist and former head of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), is in Yangon’s notorious Insein Prison after being arrested this month, highlighting the tactic employed by the military junta of using families to pressure student dissidents. Read More.
CHINA: Life sentence for Uyghur scholar shocks academics, activists
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 9/28
Confirmation that acclaimed Uyghur ethnography professor Rahile Dawut, who founded a Uyghur folklore institute at China’s Xinjiang University and is well-known internationally, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by Chinese authorities in Xinjiang province has sent shock waves through the international academic community and among human rights activists. Read More.
GERMANY/CHINA: Row erupts over state-approved research trips in China
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 9/27
A row among German academics who specialise in China studies has highlighted the dilemmas and pitfalls of state-sanctioned fieldwork in China, particularly in Xinjiang, which is largely shut off for independent work by most researchers and academics. Read More.
NIGERIA: ‘I am scared of going back to that school,’ says student
Promise Eze, University World News, 9/28
Ovioza Ikeme, a student at the Federal University Gusau (FUGUS) in Zamfara State, Nigeria, was sound asleep around 3am on 22 September when a loud bang on her door, followed by a series of gunshots, startled her. Read More.
Italy: Top court unblocks Regeni trial
Redazione ANSA, 9/27
Italy’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday ended a stalemate on the trial in absentia in Italy of four Egyptian intelligence officers on suspicion of torturing to death Italian student Giulio Regeni in Cairo in early 2016. Read More.
AFGHANISTAN: Exiled Afghan Professors Say No Return Without Women In Universities
Khujasta Kabiri, RFE/RL, 9/27
When the Taliban seized power, it soon launched a purge of Afghanistan’s universities in a bid to promote its radical Islamic values. Now, facing a severe shortage of qualified university teachers, the hard-line Islamist group is trying to convince exiled educators to return to their homeland. Read More.
UNITED STATES: A Clash Over Student Journalism
Johanna Alonso, Inside Higher Ed, 9/26
Ted Daniels, the former adviser for The Collegian at Ashland University, believes his contract was not renewed because he taught students investigative journalism. Administrators deny his claims. Read More.
EUROPE: Proposed law could protect academic freedom across Europe
Natasha Gilbert, Nature, 9/22
In response to crackdowns on academic freedom in eastern and northern Europe, a member of the European Parliament has proposed a law to safeguard research freedom across the continent. Read more.
AFGHANISTAN: Taliban brings in ideological courses at Afghan universities
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 9/22
Just weeks into the academic calendar for many Afghan universities, the Taliban has introduced compulsory ideological lectures in what scholars say is a concerning move to “brainwash” the country’s most educated citizens. Read More.
CHINA: Chairs Call For The Release Of Ilham Tohti On The Ninth Anniversary Of His Sentencing
Congressional-Executive Commission on China, 9/22
Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), issued a statement calling for the release of Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti on the ninth anniversary of his conviction and life imprisonment. Read More. Take action.
CHINA: Life Sentence for Professor Rahile Dawut Confirmed
The Dui Hua Foundation, 9/21
According to a source in the Chinese government, Professor Rahile Dawut, an acclaimed Uyghur intellectual and expert on Uyghur folklore and traditions, is serving a life sentence for endangering state security. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Hamline President Goes on the Offensive
Mark Berkson, Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/21
On September 12, Hamline University held a forum on academic freedom. The forum was presented as a response to the incident that occurred last year involving the teaching of a work of Islamic art containing a 14th-century image of the Prophet Muhammad in a world art history course. A religiously observant Muslim student complained; the administration called the lesson “undeniably … Islamophobic” and failed to rehire the instructor, Erika López Prater. These actions were widely criticized across the political spectrum and around the world. Read More.
See SAR’s report on the original incident.
CANADA/GLOBAL: Interview with Jesse Levine
Canadian Association of University Teachers, 9/21
CAUT interviewed SAR Senior Advocacy Officer Jesse Levine on the challenges facing scholars and academic freedom, and how institutions can work to defend scholars’ right to freedom of expression. Read More.
CHINA/UNITED STATES: Chinese students studying in the United States speak out for democracy, but their families at home are harassed
Tang Yuanyuan, He Ping, and Ruizhe, Radio Free Asia, 9/19
Our station recently received exclusive news that a group of Chinese students studying in the United States were harassed by state security and public security for participating in on-campus democracy support activities. Read More.
POLAND: Scientists express alarm at government plans to abolish national research funding agency
Thomas Brent, Science|Business, 9/20
Two open letters have been sent to Poland’s president and prime minister in an attempt to prevent the National Science Centre – the main basic research funding agency – from closure. Read More.
INDIA: ‘Draconian’: Why academics in Gujarat are decrying the Public Universities Bill
Damayantee Dhar, The Federal, 9/20
The Gujarat Public Universities Bill, which was recently passed by the state legislature, has been dubbed “draconian” by the academic community as it, among a slew of other changes, proposes to end student politics on campus by removing the senate and syndicate system and concentrate powers of administering varisites in the hands of the state government. Read More.
UNITED STATES: The Administrative Overhaul of New College of Florida
Josh Moody, Inside Higher Ed, 9/19
Since February, Florida’s public liberal arts college has hired numerous employees with little or no experience in higher education but deep ties to the Republican Party. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Why Scholars Are Creating an ‘Alt New College’
Megan Zahneis, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/15
As New College of Florida continues to move in a different ideological direction, former students and faculty members are building what they see as an educational resistance. Read More.
GLOBAL: The significance of academic freedom
Francesca Helm, University of Padova, 9/15
Universities are increasingly called upon to respond to crises that involve academic communities and higher education institutions, particularly when violations of academic freedom force members of such communities into exile and displacement. Recent crises as in Afghanistan, Ukraine and most recently Iran, have catalysed the attention of the academic world because of their magnitude and implications. Read More.
GLOBAL: Where universities face emerging threats and crises
Nathan M Greenfield, University World News, 9/15
Bureaucratic and legal threats by governments, weaponising the law to control the curriculum and curtail critical analysis, anti-intellectual, populist and authoritarian rhetorical attacks and crackdowns on professors and their expertise, as well as increasing pressure to self-censor, have put academic freedom in decline worldwide. Read More.
CHINA: Code reins in top scientists, who must ‘serve national security’
Mimi Leung, University World News, 9/15
Members of the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have been barred from publicly expressing academic opinions “unrelated to their field of expertise”, amid tightened restrictions to ensure the nation’s top scientists abide by ‘national security’ goals. Read More.
KUWAIT: Kuwait University to enforce gender segregation in classrooms, sparking controversy and backlash
The New Arab, 9/15
Kuwait University is set to impose gender segregation in classrooms in line with a recent agreement between the Kuwaiti MP Mohammed Haif al-Mutairi, who chairs the Committee for the Promotion of Values, and the Kuwaiti Minister of Education Adel al-Manea. Read More.
AFGHANISTAN/SWITZERLAND: Massume Zaki’s Search for Safety and Knowledge
EPFL News, 9/14
Amid the Taliban’s takeover, Afghan professor Massume Zaki finds refuge and hope through the Scholars at Risk program at EPFL, as she navigates the challenges of exile and dreams of a safer homeland. Read More.
AZERBAIJAN: Health of LSE academic detained in Azerbaijan at risk, say family
Geneva Abdul, The Guardian, 9/14
The family of a UK-based Azerbaijani academic and prominent opposition figure have raised concerns over his health after he was detained during a visit to the country and have called on the UK government to intervene. Read More.
UNITED KINGDOM: Antisemitism definition used by UK universities leading to ‘unreasonable’ accusations
Haroon Siddique, The Guardian, 9/13
An antisemitism definition adopted by most UK universities has come under fire in a report, which says it has led to 40 cases being brought against students, academics, unions, and societies – 38 of whom have been cleared. Read More.
UNITED STATES/CHINA: Among Chinese students at U.S. colleges, political pressures and discrimination grow more acute
Karin Fischer, Latitudes/The Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/13
Students from China studying in the United States in recent years were more likely to experience political pressure and discrimination than earlier generations, according to a survey of Chinese graduates that spans the past three decades. Read More.
PORTUGAL: Sexual misconduct book chapter ‘spiked’ after professor objects
John Morgan, Times Higher Education, 9/12
Two academics say a publisher has permanently withdrawn a chapter of a book they edited on sexual misconduct in universities, with doubts about the future of the entire collection, after a prominent Portuguese sociologist alleged it identified him in relation to claims of harassment. Read More.
IRAN: Iran’s researchers increasingly isolated as government prepares to wall off internet
Richard Stone, Science, 9/11
As anniversary of major protest approaches, officials seek to control access to information. Read More.
CHINA: Researchers must navigate thorny new data security laws
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 9/11
China’s tightened control of access to data and data exports has made it more difficult to independently seek out or verify statistics on the ground. New data security laws have also created a research environment in which even minimal connection or collaboration with China must be handled with extreme care. Read More.
IRAQ: Release Kidnapped Scholar
Scholars at Risk, 9/8
SAR joined Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Democracy for the Arab World Now in calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Elizabeth Tsurkov, who was kidnapped in Iraq on March 21, 2023. Read More.
UNITED STATES: How Ben Sasse Became a Combatant in Florida’s Education Wars
Michael Sokolove, New York Times, 9/7
As Ron DeSantis has turned public education into a political battleground, his state’s flagship university, now led by the former G.O.P. senator from Nebraska, has not remained neutral territory. Read More.
IRAN: Campus persecutions ramp up as protest anniversary looms
Shafigeh Shirazi, University World News, 9/6
Concerned about a resurgence in protest action in the run-up to the anniversary of 23-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody on 16 September, the Iranian authorities’ focus has been firmly fixed on the country’s universities where ‘mass purges’ of academics are said to be taking place and students face ongoing persecution. Read More.
UNITED STATES: In These Red States, Professors Are Eyeing the Exits
Megan Zahneis and Audrey Williams June, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 9/7
The increasingly assertive involvement of conservative lawmakers in the affairs of higher education has spurred concerns about “brain drain” — talented scholars choosing to leave their states or not considering employment there. Now, new statistics from a survey of faculty members in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas back up those fears: Two-thirds of respondents said they wouldn’t recommend academic work in their state to colleagues. Read More.
AFGHANISTAN: Taliban moves to entrench policy banning women from HE
Shadi Khan Saif, University World News, 9/7
The Taliban-run higher education ministry has announced the appointment of at least 850 new teachers in public universities last year, including 550 teachers for ‘Islamic culture’. Meanwhile, the first male-only university entrance exam results have been announced – in a move that shows clear defiance of internal and international calls to end the exclusion of women and girls in education. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Texas’ political environment driving faculty to leave, survey finds
William Melhado, The Texas Tribune, 9/7
The political climate in Texas is the leading contributor to professors’ desire to leave the state, a new survey of more than 1,900 Texas faculty members found. More than a quarter of those professors said they planned to look for positions elsewhere in the country this year as a result of political interference and widespread dissatisfaction with the state of higher education in Texas. Read More.
ETHIOPIA: Ongoing Amhara strife threatens to disrupt academic year
Samuel Getachew, University World News, 9/4
The academic careers of thousands of students are in jeopardy as Ethiopia’s Amhara region continues to be engulfed in widespread conflict which threatens to disrupt the upcoming academic year. A state of emergency, declared by the federal government on 4 August, is continuing. Read More.
RUSSIA: The slow, painful death of liberal arts in Russia
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 9/4
A flagship Russian college has ended its liberal arts programme, marking the formal end of a top institution – and the death knell for a once promising form of education in the country, scholars believe. Read More.
IRAN: Scholars fear ‘hiring drive’ foreshadows purge of Iranian sector
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 9/4
Iranian lecturers worry that a reported government plan to hire thousands of lecturers could be a thinly veiled precursor to a large-scale purge of academia. Read More.
MEXICO: Why Did a Drug Gang Kill 43 Students? Text Messages Hold Clues.
Natalie Kitroeff & Ronen Bergman, The New York Times, 9/2
The Mexican police, military officers and others secretly colluded with a cartel that kidnapped 43 students, a case unsolved after nearly a decade. Wiretaps show just how much the authorities helped the cartel behind the mass abduction, and what led to it. Read More.
AUSTRALIA: Fact-checker suspension ‘reflects mistrust’ of universities
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 9/1
A social media giant’s suspension of a university fact-checking service exemplifies what can happen when academic institutions take sides on contentious social issues, according to an Australian philosopher. Read More.
NICARAGUA: LASA Condemns Nicaragua’s Illegal closure of the Central American University
Latin American Studies Association, 8/31
The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) strongly condemns the illegitimate closure of the Central American University (UCA) by the State of Nicaragua. On August 15, 2023, the Tenth Criminal District Court of Hearings Managua District ordered the seizure of UCA’s movable and immovable assets, as well as the freezing of its bank accounts and financial products. Read More.
CANADA: Universities pull course info from public sites for safety, faculty want more say
Nairah Ahmed, The Canadian Press/The Toronto Star, 8/30
Several Ontario universities are removing course location and other information from their public websites as a safety measure, as faculty representatives look to be more involved in efforts to prevent harassment and hate crimes on campus. Read More.
SUDAN: 104 HE institutions burned and vandalised, says ministry
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 8/31
A total of 104 government and private higher education institutions in Sudan, as well as research centres and the National Fund for Student Welfare have been damaged and vandalised since April when the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) became embroiled in a war. Read More.
ISRAEL: Israeli military bans Palestinian women activists from higher education
Fayha Shalash, Middle East Eye, 8/30
Students engaged in union activities on campus have routinely been subjected to arbitrary suspension decisions, disrupting the women’s academic studies and delaying their careers. Read More.
IRAN: ‘Era Of Repression’: Iran Purges Ranks Of University Professors Ahead Of Protest Anniversary
Hannah Kaviani, Fereshteh Ghazi, RFE/RL, 8/30
Encouraging students to hold unauthorized demonstrations. Encouraging students to sing anti establishment slogans. Encouraging female students to remove their head scarves. Undermining Islamic values and acting against the interests of the system. These are the list of reasons the Iranian authorities are using to increasingly purge the ranks of university professors in the wake of nationwide protests that rattled the clerical establishment. Read More.
UNITED STATES / CHINA: China expert quits US university post over ‘restrictive’ policies
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 8/29
A top China specialist has become the first to resign from a leading US research university out of frustration with its “restrictive” policies on China collaborations. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Chicago Principles tested as free speech rows split faculties
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 8/28
As universities in the US – and around the world – face battles over free speech rights, the established standard known as the Chicago Principles is getting some competition. Read More.
AFGHANISTAN: Taliban stop female Afghan students leaving country to study in Dubai
Noor Gul Shafaq, BBC News, 8/28
On Wednesday 23 August, Natkai said goodbye to her family and set off for the airport. But her hopes were soon dashed. “When the Taliban officials saw our tickets and student visas, they said girls are not allowed to leave Afghanistan on student visas,” she tells me, her voice breaking. Read More.
CZECH REPUBLIC: Feared Czech institute takeover risks ‘incompetent interference’
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 8/26
Scientists at the Czech Republic’s 76 public research institutes are urgently organising against government plans that they say would curtail self-governance at their operations. Read More.
NICARAGUA: Government seizure of Nicaraguan university a blow to science, researchers say
Kata Karáth, Science, 8/25
Researchers in Nicaragua say the government’s takeover of a prominent private university has dealt another serious blow to academic freedom and scientific autonomy in the country. Read More.
UKRAINE: Ukrainian students call for end to travel ban
Helen Packer, The PIE News, 8/25
Ukrainian students continue to protest a rule that prevents men from leaving the country to study at foreign universities, while a US think tank has called on Ukraine to lift the ban. Read More.
INDIA: Pressure on Ashoka builds as intelligence services visit campus
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 8/24
A top Indian private institution at the centre of a political storm has reportedly been visited by intelligence agents after a paper by one of its scholars accused the country’s ruling party of meddling in election results. Read More.
UNITED STATES: NSF seeks to tackle foreign partnership fears
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 8/23
The US National Science Foundation is making a concerted effort to resolve high-stakes debates over US research security by creating a formal network of scientists to study the best ways of handling the problem. Read More.
NICARAGUA: The Nicaraguan regime detained four student leaders after the closure of the Central American University [SPANISH]
The Nicaraguan student leaders Joseling Mayela Campos Silva and Josseth Miranda were detained by the National Police, bringing the number of university students arrested in Nicaragua to four after the forced closure of the Jesuit Central American University (UCA), according to what activists and social movements denounced on Tuesday. Read More.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Students protest over security after second kidnapping
Augustin Sadiki, University World News, 8/23
About 50 universities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu province have halted their academic activities due to a student protest over the kidnapping of a student about 10 days ago – the second incident of its kind in August. Read More.
IRAN: Iranian academic year could start online amid protests crackdown
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 8/21
Iranian universities could be compelled to start their academic year online, amid government fears of renewed protests during the one-year anniversary of a young Iranian woman’s death next month, according to reports. Read More.
INDIA: India must end inhumane detention of human rights defender GN Saibaba: UN expert
United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 8/21
India’s persistent detention of human rights defender GN Saibaba is an inhumane and senseless act, a UN expert said today. Read More. Take action.
PHILIPPINES: U.P. Faculty Regent raises alarm over surveillance operations in campuses
Office of the Faculty Regent (University of the Philippines), 8/19
Faculty Regent Carl Marc Ramota expressed grave concern over the series of surveillance operations in several campuses of the University of the Philippines (UP), calling for an “institutional response” from University authorities. Read More.
AFGHANISTAN: A network of solidarity with Afghan colleagues
Scholars at Risk, 8/16
This August marks two years since the US withdrawal and Taliban takeover of Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghan scholars and colleagues across the education spectrum have witnessed the deliberate and ongoing devastation of Afghanistan’s higher education system, and the summary denial of educational opportunity for women and girls. In response to the ongoing and still overwhelming needs, SAR has since worked with more than 100 at-risk scholars and practitioners from Afghanistan, including over 50 who have, to date, taken up positions at 39 host institutions across 9 countries. Read More.
Resources for at-risk individuals from Afghanistan.
INDIA: Two Ashoka profs quit, 87 faculty cite threat to academic freedom
Vidheesha Kuntamalla, The Indian Express, 8/17
Days after Sabyasachi Das, a member of the faculty in the Economics Department at Ashoka University, resigned following a controversy over his research paper ‘Democratic Backsliding in the World’s Largest Democracy’, the Economics Department Wednesday said in an open letter that the Ashoka University Governing Body’s “interference” in the process to “investigate the merits” of his study was likely to “precipitate an exodus of faculty”. Read More.
NICARAGUA: Ortega and Murillo accuse the Jesuit university of terrorism and order the seizure of all their assets [SPANISH]
Wilfredo Miranda, El País, 8/16
The UCA, administered by the Society of Jesus, describes the Sandinista accusations as unfounded and suspends activities after more than 60 years of operation. Read More.
TURKEY: Universities in Turkey instructed not to renew contracts with dissident academics
The Higher Education Council (YÖK) in Turkey has intervened in private universities, instructing them not to renew contracts with academics who express oppositional views in the media, as reported by Diken’s Altan Sancar on Tuesday. A YÖK official tacitly admitted to the alleged pressure, stating that “some academics, the dissident ones, need to make decisions as they spend too much time writing for or speaking to the media.” Read More.
LIBYA: Universities closed amid armed clashes in the capital
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 8/16
Universities in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, had to halt academic and administrative activities following heavy fighting between two rival armed groups, Al-Radaa Force and 444 Brigade, both linked to the government of national unity. Read More.
UNITED STATES: College Presidents Are Planning ‘Urgent Action’ to Defend Free Speech
Zachary Schermele, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/15
More than a dozen college presidents have signed on to a new campaign to bolster free speech on their campuses. Read More.
SUDAN: Hardship for academics who have gone without pay for months
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 8/15
As the fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) enters its fourth month, the detention of citizens has raised concern while appeals have also been made to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to help secure the payment of workers, including academics, who have gone without salaries since April. Read More.
ALGERIA: Participation in international conferences: University teachers and students subject to authorization [FRENCH]
Nabila Amir, El Watan, 8/15
According to a note from the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, sent on August 12, 2023 to the heads of regional seminars, to the Director General of Scientific Research and Technological Development as well as to the directors of university establishments, Algerian university teachers and students no longer have the right to participate in international scientific events without obtaining official authorization. Read More.
UNITED KINGDOM: Researchers targeted in culture wars offered more protection
Tom Williams, Times Higher Education, 8/14
Academics whose research comes under attack in the media and online are being offered extra support by their university under a new model it is hoped can be adopted elsewhere. Read More.
AFGHANISTAN: Afghan universities ready to readmit women but not until Taliban leader says it’s ok, official says
Riazat Butt, Associated Press, 8/12
Afghanistan’s universities are ready to readmit female students, but the ruling Taliban’s leader has the ultimate say on when that might happen — if it happens at all, an education official said Saturday. Read More.
UNITED STATES: New College of Florida’s Board Starts to Dismantle Gender-Studies Program
Emma Pettit, Chronicle of Higher Education, 8/10
During a board meeting Thursday, Rufo lobbed a grenade. He made a motion — which ultimately passed — to “direct the president and staff to take the necessary and proper steps to terminate the gender-studies program, beginning with the 2024 enrollees.” Read More.
UNITED STATES: College professors sue Idaho over a law that they say criminalizes classroom discussions on abortion
Rebecca Boone, Associated Press, 8/8
Six university professors and two teachers’ unions are suing Idaho over a law that they say violates their First Amendment rights by criminalizing teaching and classroom discussion about pro-abortion viewpoints. Read More.
HUNGARY: Hungarian scientists left in the lurch as government’s battle with EU drags on
Anthony King, Chemistry World, 8/7
Hungarian students look set to miss out on Erasmus+ scholarships this year, as negotiations between their government and the European Commission remain stalled. The commission says Hungary has failed to deliver the reforms necessary and it is too late for funding to be approved this coming winter, despite multiple meetings since February between the two sides. Read More.
GLOBAL: Mellon / SAR Academic Freedom Workshop & Fellowships
Scholars at Risk, 8/4
Scholars at Risk (SAR) announces a call for applications for five remote research fellowships for early career researchers who investigate issues focusing upon academic freedom and/or related higher education values. Read More.
RWANDA / SUDAN: Medical students from war-torn Sudan arrive in Rwanda
Jean d’Amour Mbonyinshuti, University World News, 8/3
Students from the University of Medical Sciences and Technology (UMST) in Khartoum, Sudan, who fled the country after conflict erupted in April, will be able to continue their studies in Rwanda. Read More.
IRAN: Systematic Oppression of Tertiary Education in Iran Under the Islamic Republic
Negar Partow et al, Higher Education Policy, 8/1
A recent article by members of the International Community of Iranian Academics “delves into the historical and institutional roots of the oppressive mechanisms employed by the Islamic Republic in Iranian universities, since the 1979 revolution and the subsequent Islamisation project.” Read More.
ISRAEL: Israeli Education Ministry Backs Down on East Jerusalem Program After Far-right Minister Freezes Funds
Shira Kadari-Ovadia, Haaretz, 8/8
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has refused to approve funds for a program to encourage higher education, claiming university study ‘radicalizes’ Palestinians. Read More.
MYANMAR: Military raid on union office kills three student leaders
Padone, University World News, 8/1
Three teenage students were killed in a 28 July Myanmar military raid on the Budalin Student Union office in Budalin Township, Sagaing – a region of ongoing heavy conflict in Myanmar. Read More.
UNITED STATES: ‘I’m not wanted’: Florida universities hit by brain drain as academics flee
Joseph Contreras, The Guardian, 7/30
Ron DeSantis’s slew of laws attacking teaching of race and gender issues sees state’s colleges struggle to fill faculty posts. Read More.
HONG KONG: 1,500 sign petition opposing planned changes to CUHK council, with organiser citing threat to academic freedom
James Lee, Hong Kong Free Press, 7/29
More than 1,500 people have signed a petition to oppose a bill which would reduce the influence of staff and academics in the running of one of Hong Kong’s top universities, with one of the organisers saying the change would damage academic freedom. Read More.
TUNISIA / ITALY: Sapienza urged to revoke Tunisian president’s honorary doctorate
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 7/28
More than 100 scientists have written to the rector of the Sapienza University of Rome, asking her to reconsider an honorary doctorate awarded to Tunisia’s “racist and xenophobic” president, Kaïs Saïed. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Here’s What Happened After 3 Colleges Announced Cuts to the Liberal Arts
Helen Huiskes, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/27
As colleges navigate enrollment declines and financial stress, many of them are turning to a familiar strategy: cutting less-popular majors, often in the liberal arts and, in particular, the humanities. Read More.
PAKISTAN / GLOBAL: NED Partner Stands Up for Scholars and Academic Freedom
Sarah Hutson, National Endowment for Democracy, 7/24
Scholars, journalists, lawyers, and artists ask big questions as part of their work. But in many countries, asking those questions can also put them in danger. Marvi Sirmed, a Pakistani journalist and former Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), was charged with blasphemy and received death threats based on comments she made on Twitter. Read More.
IRAN: Women, Life, Freedom Protests at Universities in Iran [PODCAST]
Universities & Crisis, 7/24
Dr. Encieh Erfani and Dr. Elnaz Irannezhad discuss the impact of the Women, Life, Freedom protests on Iranian higher education. Read More.
GLOBAL: Academic freedom “increasingly under threat”
Viggo Stacey, The PIE News, 7/26
New guidance on academic freedom took centre stage at a recent event hosted by the UN Human Rights Council and Scholars at Risk, as stakeholders warned that it is increasingly under threat worldwide. Read More.
AUSTRALIA: Australian accord proposals ‘will tie administrators’ hands’
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 7/26
While the Universities Accord’s interim report has elicited enthusiasm from vice-chancellors, many of its suggestions threaten their autonomy. Read More.
UNITED STATES: The Battle for Bluefield State U.
Eric Kelderman, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/25
Since he took over the financially struggling historically Black college in the mountains of southern West Virginia in 2019, Capehart has limited professors’ input into several major policy decisions, including new learning objectives and an overhauled post-tenure review process. Read More.
MEXICO: An Investigation Into Mexico’s 43 Missing Students Ends in ‘Falsehoods and Diversions’
Emiliano Rodríguez Mega, New York Times, 7/25
A panel of international experts investigating the 2014 abduction of 43 students in southern Mexico said on Tuesday that it was ending its inquiry after being repeatedly lied to and misled by the Mexican armed forces about their role in the crime. Read More.
AZERBAIJAN: Consortium Scholar, Dr. Gubad Ibadoghlu, Arrested and Detained in Azerbaijan
The New University in Exile Consortium, 7/24
The Consortium is deeply distressed to learn that on July 23, 2023, a member of the New University in Exile Consortium Dr. Gubad Ibadoghlu, an Azerbaijani economist was arrested in Azerbaijan. Read More.
CHINA/TAIWAN: Education or politics? Chinese visit to Taiwan stirs debate
Mimi Leung, University World News, 7/21
A high-profile visit to Taiwan this week by a delegation of students and officials from mainland Chinese universities has been touted as paving a path to the resumption of stalled mainland student enrolments in Taiwan. But some lawmakers and academics in Taiwan decried the visit as a ‘political stunt’ in the lead-up to Taiwan’s presidential elections. Read More.
ITALY/EGYPT: Bologna cheers pardon of student arrested in Egypt
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 7/21
An Egyptian master’s student at the University of Bologna will return to Italy to graduate after he got a presidential pardon for writing a 2020 article on religious rights in the country. Read More.
GERMANY: German university ends ties with China scholarship scheme
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 7/20
A prestigious German university has decided to suspend collaboration with students funded by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) “to reduce the risk of industrial espionage”. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Critics blast new Florida law making university president searches secret
Ryan Daily, Tampa Bay Times, 7/17
Amid a pause in Florida Atlantic University’s search for a new president, leaders of a First Amendment group and a national higher education association are pointing to a controversial new law shielding presidential candidates’ identities as harmful to public trust and academic freedom. Read More.
EGYPT: Egypt’s president pardons detained researcher Patrick Zaki
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pardoned rights researcher Patrick Zaki a day after he was handed a three-year prison term on charges of spreading false news in a case that drew new attention to Egypt’s crackdown on dissent. Read More.
EGYPT: Civil Society Organizations Condemn Sentencing of Egyptian Academic and Researcher Patrick George Zaki
Scholars at Risk, 7/18
Scholars at Risk joins over 40 civil society organizations in calling on Egyptian authorities to immediately release Patrick George Zaki from custody and drop all charges against him, after an emergency state security court sentenced Zaki to three years in prison on charges of spreading false news. Read More.
UNITED STATES: After a Botched Hiring at Texas A&M, a Prominent Journalist Has Chosen to Stay Where She Is
Erin Gretzinger and Megan Zahneis, Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/18
The university’s deal with Kathleen O. McElroy, a prominent Black journalist, former New York Times editor and director of the University of Texas at Austin’s journalism program, fell apart as her tenure status and the term of her contract were thrown into doubt. That complication developed after conservative critics expressed reservations about her work on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, pointing to her advocacy for newsroom diversity and previous statements she’s made about objectivity in journalism. Read More.
UNITED STATES / CHINA: US lawmakers probe Tsinghua-Berkeley research institute
Paul Baskin, Times Higher Education, 7/18
US congressional Republicans have opened an investigation into the University of California, Berkeley’s research relationship with a top Chinese university, suggesting it poses a national security threat. Read More.
GERMANY / CHINA: Germany moves to create new restrictions on research cooperation with China
David Matthews, Science|Business, 7/18
The country’s new China strategy warns that Beijing now views even basic research through a military lens. Read More.
SWEDEN: Autonomy concerns as Sweden consolidates research funders
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 7/17
Sweden must consolidate its “plethora” of research funding agencies if it wants universities to deliver for society, sector leaders said, but reformers must provide reassurance that the process will not lead to tighter political control. Read More.
PAKISTAN: Universities fear change in HEC law undermines autonomy
Ameen Amjad Khan, University World News, 7/14
Universities and academics have strongly criticised the cabinet’s approval last week of an amendment in the law governing Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission (HEC) that makes the prime minister the controlling authority, giving him the power to dismiss the chairperson of the higher education regulatory body at any time. Read More.
THAILAND: Campus ban on monarchy and protests angers students
Teeranai Charuvastra, University World News, 7/13
A public university in northern Thailand has barred its students from holding any protest or gathering within the campus that mentions the Thai monarchy in any capacity, in a move seen by many students as an attempt to curb freedom of expression. Read More.
SERBIA: Stop the harassment of writer and academic Jovo Bakić
PEN International, 6/22
PEN International and Serbian PEN express grave concern about the continued harassment of writer and academic Jovo Bakić, who has been the target of the Serbian authorities and pro-government trolls for over four years. Read More.
SUDAN: Ministry sets up emergency committee to support HE sector
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 7/12
After months of armed clashes in Sudan, the country’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research is considering several measures to issue certificates to university graduates and students, as well as strategies to resume classes in safe regions, shift classes online and to allow organisations outside conflict zones to host universities located in affected regions. Read More.
CANADA: Canadian universities to examine security, inclusivity after University of Waterloo stabbings
Fakiha Baig, CBC, 7/12
Philip Landon of Universities Canada says the country’s approximately 100 universities are asking themselves in the wake of the attack at the University of Waterloo how to best address the polarization seeping into institutions that have historically addressed difficult topics head on. Read More.
INDIA: Suspended Indian professors draw international solidarity
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 7/12
Hundreds of academics around the world have come to the defence of professors suspended by an Indian university for allegedly encouraging student protests last year. Read More.
GLOBAL: UNHRC Side Event: From Words to Action Implementing Academic Freedom under UN Human Rights Standards [RECORDING]
Scholars at Risk, 7/11
On July 11th, 2023, Scholars at Risk (SAR), co-organized with State Mission sponsors Uruguay, the European Union, Portugal, and France, “From Words to Action Implementing Academic Freedom under UN Human Rights Standards,” a side event to the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). The event brought together relevant UN mandate holders, State Missions, international experts, and other stakeholders. Panelists discussed existing human rights standards, and introduced new guidance, Principles for Implementing the Right of Academic Freedom. Read More.
IRAN: Students barred from Iranian universities for refusing to wear a hijab
Deepa Parent, The Guardian, 7/10
Female students have reportedly been given sham disciplinary ‘hearings’, suspended from classes and threatened with ‘zero grades’ for defying head covering law. Read More.
MYANMAR: Teachers, students suffer opposing the military regime
Padone, University World News, 7/10
With Myanmar’s ‘Spring Revolution’ in its third year since the military coup of February 2021, the financial and mental stresses experienced by teachers, students and education staff have been considerable. Read More.
IRAN: Niloufar Bayani Continues to be Wrongfully Imprisoned and Tortured in Iran
Committee of Concerned Scientists, 7/10
In 2018, several biologists were arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, including Niloufar Bayani, and accused of espionage. Ms. Bayani was coerced into making a confession. Since then, she has been tortured, threatened, and wrongfully imprisoned. Read More.
BAHRAIN: Joint Letter: Free Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace after Two Years of Hunger Strike
Scholars at Risk, 7/8
Scholars at Risk joined 18 organizations in calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace. Dr. Al-Singace has now been on a hunger strike for over two years to protest the confiscation of his research documents. Read More.
UNITED STATES/GLOBAL: ‘Grave concern’ over NIH’s sweeping foreign research data rules
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 7/7
Universities on both sides of the Atlantic have raised concerns about broader National Institutes of Health (NIH) reporting rules for consortium grants, which they say conflict with data-protection laws, among other issues. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Refugee Students Gain a New Path to U.S. Colleges. Here’s Why That’s a Big Deal.
Eric Hoover, Chronicle of Higher Education, 7/6
Refugees will soon have a new path to domestic colleges. A new plan backed by the U.S. State Department will enable qualified students to resettle in the United States, enroll at a participating institution, and obtain legal permanent residency, with the opportunity to apply for U.S. citizenship. Read More.
UKRAINE: Supporting the Ukrainian university sector
The European University Association (EUA) presents a set of recommendations on sustaining Ukrainian universities and enabling them to continue their research and teaching activities. Read More.
IRAQ: Israeli graduate student abducted in Iraq by Iran-linked militia
Mikhail Klimentov, The Washington Post, 7/5
Elizabeth Tsurkov, an Israeli-Russian dual citizen and a graduate student at Princeton University, is being held captive by a Shiite militia, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Wednesday. Tsurkov was conducting doctoral research in Baghdad when she went missing in March. Read More.
IRAN: Academic Freedom in Iran: How Ideology Can Affect Science [Webinar Recording]
International Community of Iranian Academics, 7/4
This panel discussion sheds light on the enduring struggle for academic freedom in Iran since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. Read More.
BELGIUM: SAR Executive Director Robert Quinn accepts an honorary doctorate from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Scholars at Risk, 7/3
On June 1, 2023, SAR Executive Director Robert Quinn accepted an honorary doctorate from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in Brussels, Belgium, in recognition of his and SAR’s “efforts to defend the human rights of academics all over the world” and as “a source of inspiration for anyone who values academic freedom.” Read More.
GLOBAL: From words to action: Implementing Academic Freedom under UN Human Rights Standards [EVENT]
Scholars at Risk, 7/11
Save the date! Next Tuesday, July 11, at 10 am CET, join SAR and State Mission sponsors Uruguay, the European Union, Portugal, and France for a hybrid discussion on implementing concrete human rights protections for academic freedom. The virtual registration link will be available on Friday. Read More.
AFGHANISTAN / CANADA: Afghan scholar faces Taliban threats in pursuit of freedom
Western News, 7/3
Western News profiles Dr. Nasar Ahmad Shayan, a visiting researcher at Western University and SAR-assisted scholar. Read More.
SUDAN: With the continuation of the Sudan war, the fates of a million university students are “in the wind” [ARABIC]
Sky News Arabia, 7/1
Amira Abdel Rahman, a fourth-year medical student at a private university in Sudan, was forced to flee with her family outside the country, a week after the outbreak of fighting, which entered its third month, between the army and the Rapid Support Forces. Read More.
INDIA: Anger over suspension of faculty following student protests
Shuriah Niazi, University World News, 6/30
The suspension of four faculty members at a New Delhi-based flagship regional university established, governed and funded by the eight member nations of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has caused outrage, with teachers’ and scholars’ groups condemning the university for its ‘anti-democratic’ action. Read More.
TUNISIA: Ethical law education is at risk, warns professors’ petition
Elizia Volkmann, University World News, 6/29
Law professors, human rights lawyers and civil society groups have published a petition demanding the release of political prisoners in Tunisia, warning that such democratic regressions harm both the practice and teaching of law to the new generation of students. Read More.
HONG KONG: University of Hong Kong plans to clamp down on behaviour that brings it into ‘disrepute’, sparking criticism by staff, students
Ezra Cheung, South China Morning Post, 6/28
The University of Hong Kong (HKU) said it wanted to clamp down on behaviour that brings it into “disrepute”, but failed to give a definition of the sort of conduct that could land students in hot water. Read More.
INDONESIA: Beatings, lockouts, lawsuits: student journalism in Indonesia
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 6/28
Indonesia’s student journalists are demanding the same protection as their professional colleagues, after a report documented their exposure to litigation, gagging, expulsion and violence. Read More.
MEXICO: Hundreds file suit targeting Mexico’s divisive science law
Myriam Vidal Valero, Nature, 6/27
Hundreds of scientists and about one-third of the members of Mexico’s Congress have filed lawsuits declaring a recently passed science law unconstitutional. They say that the legislation, called the General Law on Humanities, Sciences, Technologies and Innovation, was passed using an irregular procedure and that it could harm scientific development in the country. Read More.
INDIA: Mandatory ‘Indian knowledge’ course seen as ‘indoctrination’
Tiya Thomas-Alexander, Times Higher Education, 6/27
The introduction of a mandatory course on Indian knowledge systems across the country’s public universities has been criticised for being an “indoctrination” project rather than a genuine attempt to decolonise academia. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Should College Presidents Criticize Political Candidates?
Josh Moody, Inside Higher Ed, 6/26
Some higher ed leaders have voiced concerns about the threats GOP front-runners Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis pose to democracy. Others are uneasy about weighing in on an ongoing race. Read More.
SENEGAL: UCAD calm after the riots, but damage keeps it closed
University World News, 6/22
Calm has returned to Senegal’s leading university, University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), two weeks after violent demonstrations caused it to close until further notice, but the institution remains severely damaged, including the loss of thousands of archive documents destroyed by fire. Read More.
UNITED STATES: DeSantis sues Biden administration over university accrediting system
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday that the state has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration and the U.S. Department of Education over accreditation agencies, which control federal aid for students. Read More.
SUDAN: Public Statement on Human Rights Abuses in Sudan
Executive Committee of the International Human Rights Network of Academies & Scholarly Societies, 6/5
The Executive Committee of the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies (IHRN) condemns the widespread human rights abuses that have taken place in Sudan since the outbreak of violence between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces in mid-April. Read More.
UNITED STATES/CHINA: US-China ‘paranoia’ is ‘hurting universities and students’
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 6/21
Scholars are raising the alarm about growing losses to higher education inflicted by rivalry between the US and China. Read More.
UNITED STATES: G.O.P. Targets Researchers Who Study Disinformation Ahead of 2024 Election
Steven Lee Myers and Sheera Frenkel, The New York Times, 6/19
A legal campaign against universities and think tanks seeks to undermine the fight against false claims about elections, vaccines and other hot political topics. Read More.
IRAN: Students Across Iran Say “No” to Forced Hijab
Center for Human Rights in Iran, 6/19
At least a dozen student groups from universities across Iran have issued strong statements of support for fellow students who are facing severe persecution at the Art University of Tehran for peacefully protesting forced-hijab rules and punishments on campus. Read More.
NEW ZEALAND: ‘Failure of oversight’ on New Zealand academic freedom
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 6/15
Almost half of New Zealand academics do not feel at liberty to “argue against the consensus” with their colleagues, and barely two in five feel comfortable discussing hot-button issues such as colonialism, in a country where their right to do such things is enshrined in law. Read More.
SUDAN: Concern that war is reigniting ethnic violence in Darfur
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 6/15
The continued fighting in Sudan between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has sparked fears of a new wave of ethnic violence in Darfur, a site of atrocities and human displacement since 2003. Civilians continue to be caught up in the SAF-RSF battles, including staff and students of higher education institutions, who, as part of various civil society organisations, have become more vocal in their concern about the apparent escalation of fighting in the west of Sudan, in particular. Read More.
IRAN: Webinar: Academic Freedom in Iran: How Ideology can Affect Science [EVENT]
Scholars at Risk, 6/28
On Wednesday, June 28, join the International Community of Iranian Academics (ICOIA) and SAR for a panel discussion on the enduring struggle for academic freedom in Iran since the establishment of the Islamic Republic in 1979. The panel of five experts will provide first-hand accounts illuminating the dire state of academia under suppression and the grave consequences of the lack of academic freedom in Iran. Read More.
POLAND: Academics in Poland raise the alarm over latest threat to academic freedom
Anna Rzhevkina, Science|Business, 6/7
The government withheld funding for a research institute after objecting to the views of one of its scholars. Researchers say this is an attempt ‘to intimidate scholars whose research might result in refutations of opinions held by some politicians’. Read More.
SUDAN: Lawyers call for war crime charges as destruction continues
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 6/6
Ongoing attacks on infrastructure since the start of the armed conflict in Sudan in mid-April, including on universities, hospitals, libraries and research centres, have intensified calls from academic and human rights circles for the need to safeguard higher education institutions during military clashes and to rebuild the sector in war-torn areas. Read More.
ISRAEL: Palestinian flag raises controversy in Israeli universities
Afif Abu Much, Al-Monitor, 6/6
The Knesset approved on June 1 the initial reading of a bill by Knesset member Eli Cohen of the Likud that would ban organizations and institutions budgeted for or supported by the state from flying the Palestinian flag. Included among those bodies are all of the country’s public universities. Read More.
ENGLAND: Arif Ahmed: is England’s new free speech tsar heretic or hero?
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 6/6
Supporters say new director will not be afraid to use new powers to ensure free speech duties are followed, but many still question the need for such a position. Read More.
IRAN: Climate Literacy in the Land of Oil: Niloufar Bayani publishes manuscript of interviews with female prisoners
Scholars at Risk, 6/5
Niloufar Bayani, an Iranian scholar and environmental conservationist who is falsely accused of espionage and imprisoned in Iran, has published “Climate Literacy in the Land of Oil: Interviews with female political prisoners in Evin,” a manuscript written between April 2022 and March 2023. Read More.
IRAN: The support committee for Fariba Adelkhah demanded the possibility of her return to France [FARSI]
Voice of America, 6/5
The support committee for Fariba Adelkhah and Roland Marshall on Monday, June 5th, on the fourth anniversary of their arrest in Tehran, requested the possibility of Mrs. Adelkhah’s return to France. Read More.
GLOBAL: “Academic freedom is only in retreat if we retreat”
Anna Henschel, Wissenschaftskommunikation.de, 6/5
From the displacement of Ukrainian researchers due to the Russian war, the exclusion of women and girls from the Afghan education system and the silencing of dissenting scholarly voices in Turkey and Syria – the news is full of the violent targeting of academic communities. But there are also more subtle threats at play. Robert Quinn, executive director of Scholars at Risk (SAR), talks about these pressures on academic freedom and how the network intervenes. Read More.
EGYPT: Revoke arbitrary travel ban on researcher Ahmed Samir Santawy
Amnesty International, 6/3
The Egyptian authorities have imposed an arbitrary travel ban on former prisoner of conscience and researcher Ahmed Samir Santawy, who is currently doing a master’s degree at a university in Vienna, Amnesty International said today. Ahmed Samir Santawy attempted to leave Cairo International Airport this morning, but immigration officers prevented him from travelling to Austria without justification or judicial order. Read More.
SENEGAL: In Senegal, the University of Dakar, symbol of a day of chaos after the conviction of Ousmane Sonko [FRENCH]
Moussa Ngom, Le Monde, 6/3
The Cheikh-Anta-Diop University in Dakar, the largest in the country, has been closed “until further notice” after the intense clashes that have shaken the country since Thursday. Read More.
TURKEY: Turkey’s researchers fear loss of freedom after Erdoğan re-elected
Miryam Naddaf, Nature, 5/30
Researchers have told Nature they fear that the re-election of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will lead to more restrictions on academic freedom. His administration has sacked thousands of university staff members, appointed unelected university rectors and curbed academic freedom and university autonomy since it came to power 21 years ago. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Tenure Survives in Texas; DEI Offices Do Not
Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, 5/30
Texas legislators approved changes in tenure practices at the state’s public colleges and universities that enshrine the process in state law. While many faculty leaders view the changes as troublesome, they are still relieved, because the Senate had earlier voted to eliminate tenure going forward. Read More.
UNITED STATES: The New Florida Presidential Profile
Josh Moody, Inside Higher Ed, 5/30
A new presidential profile is emerging in Florida, where those hired or considered for top executive positions are increasingly conservative politicians—often with ties to Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor who has sought to reshape higher education in the Sunshine State. Read More.
AFGHANISTAN: A private university provides free online education to more than 10,000 Afghan students [PASHTO]
Radio Azadi, 5/30
After the re-establishment of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the closing of middle schools and universities to girls, efforts have been made for online education at home and abroad. Hamidullah Afghan, the founder of the Open University of Afghanistan, says: “About 10,000 Afghan students, boys and girls, are in contact with us through WhatsApp and Telegram.” Read More.
IRAN: Iranian Students Coming Under Increased Pressure Over Hijab Rules
RFE/RL Radio Farda, 5/27
Iranian students are coming under increased pressure and disciplinary measures as authorities try to stamp out dissent over the mandatory hijab law. Read More.
HONG KONG: Student arrest related to 2019 campus siege raises alarm
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 5/26
Students and pro-democracy supporters continue to be arrested in Hong Kong years after pro-democracy unrest which gripped the city and its universities in 2019-20. In particular, violence erupted after police besieged Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) in November 2019 in scenes likened by many to a ‘war zone’. Read More.
SUDAN: Reports of sexual violence emerge as fighting continues
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 5/23
As the fighting of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) enters its second month, reports of the rape and sexual assault of women, including members of the university community, are emerging. Read More.
SWEDEN: EUA supports Swedish universities’ call to protect institutional autonomy
The European University Association condemns the recent decision by the Swedish government to shorten the mandate of external members of university boards from three years to 17 months. Read More.
RUSSIA: Russian education minister dies after ‘criticising Ukraine war’
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 5/22
Russia’s deputy minister for science and higher education has died after he reportedly criticised the Kremlin’s offensive on Ukraine as a “fascist invasion” in a private conversation. Read More.
PHILIPPINES: Philippines military training for students ‘aims at stifling dissent’
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 5/22
Scholars are concerned that legislation which would require students in the Philippines to serve two years of mandatory military training is aimed at stifling dissent and could put young people at risk of assault. Read More.
UNITED KINGDOM: The free speech bill has finally become law – what happens next?
Tom Williams, Times Higher Education, 5/22
University leaders need to “get their head out of the sand” and start assessing now how new free speech legislation in England is going to have a “seismic” impact, as the threat of legal trouble looms. Read More.
AFGHANISTAN: More than half of the teachers of Kabul University have left Afghanistan [PASHTO]
Hafeezullah Maruf, BBC, 5/22
BBC Pashto reported that over 400 professors of Kabul University have left Afghanistan. There were about 780 professors in Kabul University in the last year of the republican government, but after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan, more than half of these professors left the country. Read More.
EGYPT/AUSTRIA: CEU Stands in Solidarity With Student Ahmed Samir Santawy
CEU Newsroom, 5/22
The CEU Senate is deeply concerned that our student, Ahmed Samir Santawy, remains unfairly subject to a travel ban that prevents him from joining us in Vienna to finish his studies and graduate with his cohort at the CEU Commencement ceremony at the end of June. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Report: Adjunct Who Showed Images of Prophet Was ‘Vilified’
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 5/22
A new American Association of University Professors report says Hamline University administrators “encouraged and promoted” a “de facto campaign of vilification.” Read More.
SWEDEN: Academics hit back over interference in university boards
Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News, 5/20
A media row has broken out in Sweden over government proposals to shorten the terms of university board members from 3.5 years to 17 months in a move seen by universities, higher education stakeholders and opposition parties to threaten the academic freedom of universities. Read More.
HONG KONG/CHINA: Academics from mainland China outnumber Hong Kong faculty
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 5/19
In Hong Kong’s universities, academics of mainland Chinese origin this year outnumbered Hong Kong faculty for the first time, according to official figures, raising fears that an ongoing trend in this direction could affect the international character of universities in Hong Kong, and their culture of open research. Read More.
THAILAND: Surprise election results renew hope for education reform
Teeranai Charuvastra, University World News, 5/19
Outdated teaching and curricula and other legacies of Thailand’s authoritarian past will hopefully fade away in schools and universities, following the surprise electoral victory of Thailand’s Move Forward Party which, among other issues, campaigned for radical changes to Thai education. Read More.
AFGHANISTAN/CANADA: Afghan scholars safely resume research thanks to Scholars at Risk program at Laurier
Wilfrid Laurier University, 5/17
“Peace, love and justice” is the title of an award-winning journal article co-authored by Sediqa Akbari and Rohina Zaffari, two Afghan academics participating in the Visiting Researcher – Scholars at Risk program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Read More.
AFRICA: Academic freedom violations in public institutions are increasing
Wachira Kigotho, University World News, 5/18
Academic freedom in African universities has dipped significantly in the recent past as a result of threats by political systems, according to researchers who searched databases on the issue in Scopus and Google Scholar platforms. Read More.
JAPAN/GLOBAL: G7 ministers call for rules to improve research security
Suvendrini Kakuchi, University World News, 5/17
A meeting of science ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies held in Sendai, Japan, last week, called for appropriate rules to protect against “outside interference” in international education and research to improve research security and integrity. Read More.
IRAN: Students Group Says Hundreds Summoned Over Hijab Issues On Tehran Campus
Ardeshir Tayebi, RFE/RL Radio Farda, 5/17
Hundreds of Iranian students are said to be facing disciplinary committees and possible suspensions at Al-Zahra University in Tehran over issues related to the mandatory wearing of hijabs on campus. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Florida restricts teachings on race
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 5/16
Florida governor Ron DeSantis, choosing a confrontational campus setting, signed legislation that ends diversity hiring programmes at the state’s colleges and universities and restricts classroom discussions of race. Read More.
TURKEY: Turkish higher education ‘needs deep reform’ post-election
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 5/15
Turkish scholars have said major changes will be needed to restore the country’s higher education system after two decades of deteriorating working conditions, freedoms and institutional autonomy under the presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Read More.
SUDAN/SWITZERLAND: From Sudan to USI with the Scholars at Risk programme
Università della Svizzera italiana, 5/15
As often happens during wars and conflicts, the pressure of current events trumps the past: the ongoing civil war, with its tragic news, overshadows the long and rich history of Sudan to which Professor Ahmed Hussein Abdelrahman Adam has dedicated his studies. An associate professor of archaeology at the University of Khartoum, in recent weeks, Adam arrived at Università della Svizzera Italiana thanks to the Scholar at Risk (SAR) programme to which USI has been a member since 2016. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Indiana’s Funding Ban for Kinsey Sex-Research Institute Threatens Academic Freedom, IU President Says
Katherine Mangan, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/12
The decision to ban state funding for Indiana University at Bloomington’s famed sex-research institute threatens academic freedom and sets a “troubling precedent” for legislative interference in research nationwide, the university’s president, Pamela Whitten, said in a recent public statement. Read More.
SWEDEN: Swedish alarm over ministry-ordered security experts on boards
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 5/8
Halving board members’ terms to allow influx of security experts risks ‘dangerous’ infringement on university autonomy, sector warns. Read More.
HONG KONG: Another student union faces dissolution as leaders resign
Mimi Leung, University World News, 5/10
The future of yet another student union in Hong Kong hangs in the balance after all student members of its executive committee resigned this week, saying the university administration no longer recognises the union and was refusing to deal with its representatives. Read More.
EGYPT: Patrick Zaki’s trial has been postponed for the tenth time [ITALIAN]
Il Post, 5/9
On Tuesday, the court of Mansura, in Egypt, postponed the first hearing of the trial against Patrick Zaki, the Egyptian activist and student of the University of Bologna who had been detained in Egypt. Read More.
CANADA / CHINA: Canadian scientists ‘questioned by agents over China links’
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 5/9
Trudeau administration hardens line on research ties to China, as academics report unsolicited approaches from intelligence agency. Read More.
UNITED STATES: Professors are victims as DeSantis’ culture war hots up
Nathan M. Greenfield, University World News, 5/6
One professor was fired without notice or cause and five others were denied tenure in recent days at the only liberal arts college in Florida’s public system, as the culture war being waged against higher education by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis hots up. Read More.
INDIA: Indian universities’ silence on Modi degrees ‘shows climate of fear’
Tiya Thomas-Alexander, Times Higher Education, 5/4
Avoidance of questions about prime minister’s qualifications suggests growing political interference, scholars say. Read More.
GERMANY: Endangered Science: Berlin universities are merging
Clara Dunkler, Tagesspiegel, 5/4
Researchers are being persecuted in more and more countries, and some are forced to flee. The NGO “Scholars at Risk” helps and puts them in contact with safe universities. The network is now also available in Berlin-Brandenburg. Read more.
EUROPEAN UNION: Pressure mounts for European law to protect academic freedom
Goda Naujokaitytė, Science | Business, 5/2
With violations on the rise, the European Parliament is pressing for EU-level regulation to protect academic freedom. Some research policy experts are not convinced, others think it is needed to stem the rising tide of violations. Read more.
UNITED STATES / CHINA: What next for US-China research ties post-Lieber case?
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 5/2
Biden signalled new approach to scientific engagement with Asian superpower, but scholars say Trump’s China Initiative is continuing under new guises. Read more.
SUDAN: Students in Sudan facing gunfire and bomb explosions
Will Nott, The Pie News, 4/28
International students trapped at a university campus in Sudan say they have no water, electricity or food, and have spoken of their terror after they saw jets dropping bombs under a kilometre away from them. Read more.
SUDAN: ‘Armed groups entered the lab’: Sudan’s researchers flee violent military conflict
Miryam Naddaf, Nature, 4/28
Clashes have left hospitals and universities without water and power — and vulnerable to takeover by armed groups. Read more.
IRAN: Plea to Save Iranian-Swedish Scholar in Death Row
An international network protecting academic freedom reiterated its call for the immediate release of an Iranian-Swedish scholar who has been imprisoned for seven years and faces execution in Iran. Read more. Take action.
HUNGARY: MEPs report concerns over academic freedom in Hungary after fact-finding trip
Thomas Brent, Science | Business, 4/26
A fact-finding trip to Budapest has left MEPs from across the political spectrum uneasy. Their impressions of deteriorating academic freedom and self-censorship are at odds with how government representatives portrayed things. Read more.
UNITED STATES / HUNGARY: Attacks on academic freedom in the US & lessons learned from Orbán’s Hungary [RECORDING]
Scholars at Risk, 4/26
The Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (CAFA) held a webinar on “Attacks on academic freedom in the US & lessons learned from Orbán’s Hungary,” which discussed concerning declines in respect for academic freedom in the United States, as well as the increase in legislation targeting higher education institutions and the threats such laws pose to academic freedom and institutional autonomy. Watch here.
THAILAND: Students step forward as watchdogs for upcoming elections
Teeranai Charuvastra, University World News, 4/25
First-year university student Wirocha Chatchawanwong will cast her vote in Thailand’s upcoming general elections for the first time, and is determined to make sure her vote is properly accounted for. To that end, Wirocha has signed up as a volunteer to observe the polls on 14 May, joining the ranks of college students, activists and members of the public who will be looking out for any chicanery or attempt to subvert the results. Read more.
SUDAN: More civilian deaths, louder calls for dialogue in Sudan
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 4/27
The higher education community in Sudan, including several universities, their academics and students, has taken a stand as part of a pro-democracy movement to call for an end to the war in the country and for humanitarian support for citizens affected by the military clashes between the national army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, or RSF, that erupted on 15 April. Read more.
UNITED STATES: ‘Shame on You’: Over Fiery Protests, Florida’s New College Trustees Deny 5 Tenure Bids
Tom Bartlett, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/26
The meeting of New College of Florida’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday afternoon began with a full hour of fierce criticism from members of the community, as dozens of professors, students, and parents lambasted what they view as a hostile takeover of the institution by a Republican governor with likely presidential ambitions. It ended with the chairman of the faculty resigning from the college. Read more.
IRAN: Save Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali after seven years of imprisonment
Scholars at Risk, 4/26
Scholars at Risk sent a letter to Swedish and Belgian authorities, urging them to do everything in their power to secure the immediate release of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali. Today marks seven years of Dr. Djalali’s wrongful imprisonment. Read more. Take action.
SWEDEN: KI and committee urge the government to act in Djalali’s case
Jesper Cederberg, Läkartidningen, 4/25
The Academies’ Committee for Human Rights and the Karolinska Institutet submitted in an open letter to Sweden’s Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Education advocating for Ahmadreza Djalali. Read more.
PAKISTAN: Bill ‘would give police powers’ to Pakistan’s university watchdog
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 4/25
Higher Education Commission could be given control over v-c appointments at public universities, with ‘disastrous consequences’ for autonomy. Read more.
IRAN: Iranian Professor Educated In U.S. Says Fired For Supporting Protests
Ardeshir Tayebi and RFE/RL’s Radio Farda, Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, 4/24
A professor at the Faculty of Law and Political Science at the University of Tehran says he has been fired from the university after he came out in support of nationwide protests over the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody. Read more.
SWEDEN: Calls for constitutional protection of academic freedom
Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News, 4/22
A call from academic and student union representatives for academic freedom to be enshrined in the country’s constitution has fuelled further debate in Sweden about improving protection of academic freedom and university autonomy. Read more.
HONG KONG: Academics fear ‘less democratic’ university governance
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 4/21
One of Hong Kong’s top universities – the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) – will reduce student and academic representation on its governing council if a taskforce report on the university’s governance is fully implemented, allowing external members, including political appointees, more say in important university matters. Read more.
UNITED STATES: Ex-Presidents for Academic Freedom
Josh Moody, Inside Higher Education, 4/21
PEN America has convened a group of 100-plus former college presidents to push back on threats to academic freedom as higher education remains a frequent target for politicians. Read more.
SUDAN: Deaths of students, academics reported as conflict continues
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 4/20
Following several days of fighting between Sudan’s national army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and a failed ceasefire, dozens of deaths and a growing number of injuries have been reported in the country in a conflict which is also affecting the academic community. Read more.
GERMANY: Founding Ceremony of Scholars at Risk (SAR) Network Berlin-Brandenburg
US Embassy & Consulates in Germany, 4/19
No freedom is more connected to human progress and the spirit of democracy than the free discovery and exchange of ideas. Read more.
PAKISTAN: Pakistani universities suspend operations amid soaring inflation
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 4/16
Huge hike in costs plunges institutions into dire situation as academics call on government to urgently raise higher education spending. Read more.
UNITED STATES: TN bill that allows students to report professors who teach ‘divisive concepts’ passes House and Senate
A bill that made its way through the Tennessee legislature aims to strengthen rules passed last year that can change how schools approach teaching many kinds of lessons in social justice, racial inequity, political science, social work, psychology and many other fields. Read more.
UNITED STATES: A Texas Trilogy of Anti-DEI, Tenure Bills
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 4/14
Three Texas bills would end tenure, force universities to fire professors who “attempt to compel” certain beliefs and ban what the legislation defines as diversity, equity and inclusion programming. The State Senate has already passed one. Read more.
TURKEY: Brain drain among Turkish academics is at alarming levels, report shows
The Turkish Informatics Foundation’s (TBV) has published a report titled “Turkey Academic Diaspora Report: From Brain Drain to Brain Power” in order to highlight the problems experienced by Turkish academics and reasons that led them to move abroad. Read more.
CHINA: block on foreign access to journal portal ‘damages knowledge’
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 4/14
Further security service-directed restrictions could deal ‘serious blow’ to West’s China studies and isolate Chinese academics. Read more.
UNITED STATES: Texas Senate approves bill barring professors from “compelling” students to adopt certain political beliefs
Kate McGee, The Texas Tribune, 4/11
Critics say Senate Bill 16 is overly vague and will create a chilling effect that will prevent important conversations about race and gender. But Republican supporters say the legislation is necessary to protect conservative students who are self-censoring in the classroom. Read more.
EUROPE: State of play of academic freedom in Europe – A political choice
Anne Corbett, University World News, 4/11
The United Kingdom government is fond of indicators and other forms of comparison. Except, and especially since Brexit, when it comes to the European Union. So the UK government may not be interested in a report to the European Parliament just published on academic freedom in the 27 member states. Read more.
CANADA: ‘They cannot incarcerate my mind’: Carleton groups advocate for at-risk scholars
Kyra Vellinga, The Charlatan, 4/10
The Charlatan covers efforts at Carleton University to host at-risk scholars and student advocacy for imprisoned scholars. Read more.
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UNITED STATES: At Stanford Law School, the Dean Takes a Stand for Free Speech. Will It Work?
Vimal Patel, The New York Times, 4/9
After a student protest, Jenny S. Martinez wrote a much-praised memo defending academic freedom. But that protest shows how complicated protecting free speech can be. Read more.
MALAYSIA: Malaysian government bans student branches of political parties
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 4/8
Academics warn that move to ‘stifle’ youth political involvement betrays ‘insecurity’ by ruling party. Read more.
YEMEN: Saudi-Iran diplomacy offers hope for Yemen’s universities
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 4/7
Yemen’s universities are in a desperate situation. As a result of eight years of war, the higher education sector in Yemen has suffered approximately US$1.34 billion worth of damage, according to a 29 March statement issued by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in the Houthi government. Read more.
TURKEY: Standing up for the university
Biray Kolluoglu and Lale Akarun, Nature Human Behaviour, 4/6
At Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, President Erdoğan’s policies and appointments are overturning the long-held liberal values of the institution. In an ongoing struggle of resistance against these actions, the faculty protest daily in the name of academic freedom and university autonomy. Read more.
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IRAN: Students who flout rules on wearing hijab will be banned
Shafigeh Shirazi, University World News, 4/6
Iran’s Ministry for Science said this week that students at institutions under its remit – the majority of public universities – will be denied educational and other services if they do not abide by strict rules enforcing wearing the hijab or headscarf on campus. Read more.
CHINA: China to evaluate universities with ‘ideological index’
Jing Liu, Times Higher Education, 4/3
Education authorities in China plan to establish an index for universities’ ideological and political education, putting data-driven momentum behind an existing government push on the issue. Read more.
MYANMAR: Sharp drop in students sitting Myanmar’s matriculation exam
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 4/3
Many learners reluctant to attend public institutions as this may ‘legitimise regime’, says researcher. Read more.
RUSSIA: Moscow’s Free University, branded ‘undesirable’ by Kremlin, closes doors
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 4/3
The Moscow-based Free University has suspended its activities in Russia after being labelled “undesirable” by the Kremlin last week. Read more.
BELARUS: Inside and outside their country, students are struggling
Aliaksei Piatrenka, University World News, 4/1
This February the Belarusian Students’ Association (BSA), an independent union of Belarusian students, published a report on the state of Belarusian academia in 2022. The report describes the current situation for both students and academics inside the country and those who live in exile and take part in European scholarship programmes to continue their studies. It also contains a set of recommendations for political and academic actors on how to develop policies about Belarus. What can be learned from the report? Read more.
MEXICO: Mexican military accused of hindering probe of 43 missing students
Oscar Lopez and Mary Beth Sheridan, The Washington Post, 3/31
International investigators seeking to wrap up an exhaustive investigation into Mexico’s biggest human-rights scandal — the disappearance of 43 students — said Friday that the military is obstructing their efforts at a crucial moment. Read more.
GLOBAL: U.S., Other Countries Issue Statement Supporting Academic Freedom
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 3/30
The United States and about 70 other countries issued a joint statement Wednesday supporting academic freedom. Read more.
UNITED STATES: This Ohio Bill Wouldn’t Just Ban Diversity Training. It Would Reshape Higher Ed
Kate Marijolovic, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/30
Amid the tidal wave of proposals across the country that would eliminate diversity efforts at public colleges, Ohio’s Senate Bill 83 stands out. The 39-page bill could reshape higher education in the state, with provisions that would ban many diversity initiatives, require annual faculty performance reviews, create new graduation requirements, potentially bar Chinese students from enrolling, and mandate the language colleges must include in their mission statements. Read more.
GLOBAL: 72 Countries urge greater cooperation to protect academic freedom
Scholars at Risk, 3/29
SAR commends France, South Africa, and 70 other countries around the globe who came together today before the United Nations Human Rights Council to issue an historic Joint Statement in support of Academic Freedom. Read more.
GLOBAL: Student activism isn’t always protected, global report finds
Karin Fischer, Latitudes in The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/29
Students are speaking out and protesting for causes they believe in, yet they can be overlooked in discussions of academic freedom, according to a new report on global student activism. Read more.
BURKINA FASO: Insurgency leads to university closures, staff deaths
Fanie Kone, University World News, 3/28
Higher education and research institutions, their staff and research projects in Burkina Faso are under threat from a jihadist insurgency, as the West African country’s military government struggles to maintain security in several regions. Read more.
MALAYSIA: Higher Education Ministry vows no political parties will be allowed to set up branches in universities, colleges
Shahrin Aizat Noorshahrizam, Malay Mail, 3/28
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin pledged today that the government will not allow any political parties to set up branches in tertiary education institutions. Read more.
HUNGARY: Hungary is the only EU Member State where academic freedom is structurally compromised, says a recent study
Katalin Halmai, Népszava, 3/27
The situation of academic freedom is significantly worse in Hungary than in the other EU member states – states a recent study prepared at the request of the EP, which will be presented on Monday in the culture and education committee of the representative body. Read more.
CHINA: A portal to China is closing, at least temporarily, and researchers are nervous
Bochen Han, South China Morning Post, 3/25
China’s top internet portal for academic papers will suspend foreign access to some databases starting next week, sparking concerns among scholars that they will lose not only an important resource for understanding China but also a useful guardrail to reduce misunderstanding between China and the West. Read more.
INDIA: Jailed in Elgar Parishad Case, Hany Babu to Get Honorary Doctorate from Belgian Varsity
The Wire, 3/24
Hany Babu is one of the 16 activists, scholars and lawyers to have been arrested in the Elgar Parishad case, which is yet to go to trial. He has been in jail for close to two years. Read more.
TURKEY: ECtHR convicts Turkey for violating Peace Academics’ rights
Ayça Söylemez, Bianet, 3/23
Three academics had been dismissed from their posts and their passports had been revoked. Their right to education and right to respect for one’s private life were violated, the European court has concluded. Read more.
SERBIA: In Serbia, Cooperation with Kosovo Scientists Can Bring Threats of Violence
Milica Stojanovic, Balkan Insight, 3/23
A Serbian academic says she won’t be intimidated after being branded a “traitor” for conducting academic research with counterparts in Kosovo. Read more.
MOROCCO: Police violence against students on campus sparks outrage
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 3/23
The Moroccan security forces have been condemned by academics and students from several organisations in the higher education sector for storming the campuses of Hassan II University and mistreating and injuring dozens of students during a week in which they were part of a peaceful protest forum organised by the National Union of Moroccan Students (NUMS, or UNEM in French). Read more.
BRAZIL: Red Alert from Brazil: Toward a comprehensive, intersectional and context-based framework for the guarantee of academic freedom
Rosario Figari Layús and Camila Nobrega, Scholars at Risk, 3/23
Scholars at Risk is pleased to present the following policy paper, entitled: “Red alert from Brazil: Toward a comprehensive, intersectional and context-based framework for the guarantee of academic freedom.” The paper was written by Mellon/SAR Academic Freedom Fellowship alumni as part of their fellowship. Read more.
INDIA / AFGHANISTAN: Anger as India invites Taliban to put officials on course
Shuriah Niazi, University World News, 3/22
Students from Afghanistan have expressed anger after India’s Ministry of External Affairs conducted a course for members of the Taliban. The four-day online course started on 14 March and was open to participants from all countries, including Taliban members in Afghanistan. Read more.
SOUTH AFRICA: Stellenbosch under pressure on Afrikaans policies
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 3/21
V-c Wim de Villiers advocates multilingualism within higher education, but investigation finds university ‘violated rights’ of Afrikaans students. Read more.
CHINA: Fears for academia’s ‘peacemaker’ role, as China expertise wanes
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 3/20
China studies programmes and language courses are on the decline, just as understanding of the superpower is needed most. Read more.
UNITED STATES: Florida’s Stop WOKE Act Remains Stymied
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 3/17
The Stop WOKE Act continues to be blocked at Florida public colleges and universities, and it will likely stay that way at least through the end of this academic year. Read more.
TUNISIA: Tunisia activists claim authorities target sub-Saharan students
Elizia Volkmann, Al-Monitor, 3/16
Civil society and student organizations have sounded the alarm on the sharp rise of arbitrary arrests and police violence against people of sub-Saharan origin, especially as food shortages contribute to a socio-economic pressure cooker. Read more.
GLOBAL: Attacks on academic freedom signal an erosion of democracy
Hector Ulloa, Sunniva Whittaker and Svein Stølen, University World News, 3/16
“The current democratic decline has been the result of a consistent and targeted erosion of the foundations of democracy. The suppression of freedom of speech and free elections have been acknowledged as warning signs of democratic erosion. It is time for us to recognise attacks on academic freedom in a similar fashion and strengthen the understanding of academic freedom as a foundational element upon which democracy is built.” Read more.
CANADA: Why is Student-led Advocacy Important? – Scholars in Prison Engagementship
The University of British Columbia, 3/16
Program participants Luiza Teixeira, Emma Li, and Golsa Moazedi share their reflections of the work they’ve done so far in the SAR Scholars in Prison Engagementship opportunity. Read more. Start a Seminar.
IRAN: Extend amnesty to remaining imprisoned scholars and students
Scholars at Risk, 3/15
Scholars at Risk issued a letter to Iranian authorities, urging Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to extend the amnesty granted to hundreds in prison to the scholars and students who remain in prison, including Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, Ms. Niloufar Bayani, Mr. Ali Younesi, and Mr. Amirhossein Moradi. Read more. Take action.
EUROPE: Early career precarity imperils academic freedom – Eurodoc
Nic Mitchell, University World News, 3/15
An umbrella organisation representing nearly a million doctoral candidates and postdocs across Europe has called on academic institutions and governments to improve conditions for early career researchers, suggesting their “precarious existence endangers academic freedom”, which is already under attack in many countries across the continent. Read more.
UNITED STATES: Witch-hunts cripple science, warns scholar arrested under Trump
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 3/14
A year after his ordeal, Chinese American semiconductor specialist Gang Chen reflects on how a 12-month government investigation changed his life and work. Read more.
IRAN: Iranian scholar who resigned in protest may need to seek asylum
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 3/14
One of just a few scholars to resign from an Iranian institution in solidarity with the anti-government demonstrations that swept the country this winter is running out of time to find a permanent job outside the country. Read more.
UNITED STATES: ‘A Huge Red Flag’: How Florida Colleges’ Controversial Statement on Diversity Came Together
Francie Diep, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/14
Documents appear to show that a state official helped inject more-aggressive language into a statement by public-college presidents. Read more.
EUROPE: Building bridges between Ukrainian and EU researchers
Andrew Dunne, Horizon, 3/13
With its eye on the eventual reconstruction of Ukraine, Europe is helping academics from the country get their lives back on track. Read more.
NEW ZEALAND: Backlash as academics warned to remain ‘politically neutral’ ahead of general election
Lee Kenny, Stuff, 3/13
The boss of the country’s mega polytech has told all staff – including academics – they are “public servants” and must remain politically neutral ahead of this year’s general election. The apparent muzzling order from Te Pūkenga chief executive Peter Winder has prompted a swift backlash, as academic freedom has protection under law. Read more.
CHINA: ‘It Is Especially Scary to See Students’ Professors in China React to New Levels of Control in Their Classrooms
Jue Jiang, ChinaFile, 3/13
“In addition to the high-tech cameras that are already installed in classrooms for monitoring lectures and discussion, student informants are viewed by authorities as key information nodes for a bottom-up, masses-based form of surveillance and control.” Read more.
UNITED STATES: UPenn Accuses a Law Professor of Racist Statements. Should She Be Fired?
Vimal Patel, The New York Times, 3/13
Amy Wax and free speech groups say the university is trampling on her academic freedom. Students ask whether her speech deserves to be protected. Read more.
UNITED STATES: Accreditors in firing line as US political temperature rises
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 3/10
Agencies created to help institutions improve themselves, then asked to guard federal student aid, now face fight over battling partisan attacks on academia. Read more.
INDIA: Leading Indian university U-turns on student sit-ins ban
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 3/9
Educational institutions ‘should not act as correction agencies, but be centres of human flourishing’, scholar says. Read more.
EUROPE: University Autonomy in Europe IV: The Scorecard 2023
Enora Bennetot Pruvot, Thomas Estermann, and Nino Popkhadze, European Universities Association, 3/7
The Scorecard 2023 provides a full comparative analysis of the state of play of university autonomy in 35 higher education systems in Europe. Read more.
UNITED STATES: The MAGA-fication of North Idaho College
Charles Homans, The New York Times, 3/6
G.O.P. activists set out to root out the “deep state” at home. An Idaho community college may never be the same. Read more.
AFGHANISTAN/CANADA: A new beginning for Afghan women judges forced to flee the Taliban
Thandi Fletcher, University of British Columbia, 3/6
Since the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan in August 2021, women judges throughout the country have lost their jobs, had their lives threatened, and have been forced to evacuate or go into hiding. Last March, the International Association of Women Judges published an open letter to the international community seeking assistance in evacuating and resettling women judges who remained in Afghanistan. Today, the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia announced the creation of the new Afghan Women Judges Program. Read more.
BAHRAIN: Joint Statement: Bahrain’s 146th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly
Scholars at Risk, 3/6
Scholars at Risk joined Human Rights Watch and 20 other human rights organizations in urging Parliamentarians to publicly raise human rights and political freedom concerns in Bahrain ahead of the 146th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly. The IPU Assembly is scheduled to take place in Bahrain from March 11 to March 15, 2023. Among our concerns is the continued imprisonment and denial of appropriate medical care to Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace. Read more.
UNITED STATES: ‘State Mandated Censorship’: Florida Faculty Worry About Bill That Would Ban Certain Majors
Julian Roberts-Grmela, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/3
If passed, the legislation would forbid academic programs in gender studies, critical race theory, and intersectionality. The AAUP calls it “a complete violation of academic freedom.” Read more.
IRAN/BELGIUM: Daughter of Iranian VUB lecturer on death row speaks to VRT
Inge Vrancken and Colin Clapson, VRT News, 3/2
The daughter of Ahmadreza Djalali, the Swedish Iranian guest lecturer at the Flemish Free University of Brussels (VUB) is sounding the alarm. The woman doesn’t want her name in the media because she is scared of the Iranian regime, but out of fear for the life of her father, who was condemned to death in Iran in 2017, she has now spoken in public for the first time. Read more.
UNITED STATES/UNITED KINGDOM: ‘Significant declines’ for US and UK in academic freedom ranking
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 3/2
Drops in campus integrity and freedoms to research and teach leave academic powerhouses sitting below Bosnia and Benin in global rankings. Read more.
GLOBAL: Academic freedom on the decline
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, 3/2
Academic freedom is a universal human right. Yet, the 2022-release of the Academic Freedom Index (AFI) reveals that almost two out of five people worldwide live in countries where academic freedom has declined substantially during the past ten years. Countries with substantial declines in academic freedom include for example Brazil, Cameroon, India, Russia, Thailand, and the USA. Read more.
UNITED STATES: For Chinese American Scientists, a Chill at the U.S. Border
Karin Fischer, Latitudes / The Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/1
Advocates for Asian American academics are raising alarms about Chinese American researchers, and their families, being stopped and questioned when re-entering the United States. Read more.
PERU: University autonomy and social protests in Peru
Salvador Herencia-Carrasco, Le Monde Diplomatique Brasil, 2/28
On January 21, Peruvian National Police officers destroyed one of the entrance gates to the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in order to arrest people camping on the university’s campus. Read more.
EGYPT / ITALY: Patrick Zaki, the process postponed again: the statement of the Rector Giovanni Molari [ITALIAN]
Unibo Magazine, 2/28
The ninth hearing of the trial against Patrick Zaki, like all the previous ones, also ended with a postponement: the court of Mansura has convened the parties for May 9th. After more than three years, the legal case involving the student of the University of Bologna continues to drag on without results. Read more.
Listen now to SAR’s Free to Think Podcast:
In SAR’s “Free to Think” podcast, SAR Executive Director Rob Quinn speaks with guests who inspire us with their courage to seek and speak truth — often at great risk — as well as those who work to defend them. Tune in now to our latest episodes, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and all major platforms. Listen now.
CHINA: Tsinghua University Students Sue Ministry of Education Over Rainbow Pride Flag Case
Cindy Carter, China Digital Times, 2/27
In a rare instance of a legal challenge to restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights, two Tsinghua University students filed a lawsuit last week against the Chinese Ministry of Education for refusing to consider their appeal against disciplinary action imposed after the students distributed 10 small rainbow pride flags on the Tsinghua campus in May of 2022, in advance of Pride Month. Read more.
GLOBAL: Joint Letter: HRC52: Support consensus renewal of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
International Service for Human Rights, 2/27
SAR joins 168 NGOs in urging all Member States at the United Nations Human Rights Council to support the consensus renewal of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders. Read more.
UNITED STATES: DeSantis Higher Ed Bill Heads for the Legislature
Josh Moody, Inside Higher Ed, 2/27
Florida governor Ron DeSantis promised major reforms for higher education last month. Now a bill looks to turn those aims into law. Read more.
RUSSIA: Russia returns to six-year degrees, abandoning Bologna Process
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 2/23
Planned departure from Western higher education will ‘limit Russian students’ exposure to outside world and democracy’, scholars warn. Read more.
EUROPE: Commission provides support for 124 researchers from Ukraine who fled the war
European Commission, 2/23
Today, the Commission officially announced the selection results of the MSCA4Ukraine initiative, which supports displaced researchers from Ukraine. The initiative is implemented by a consortium composed of Scholars at Risk Europe, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the European University Association. Learn more.
UNITED STATES: A University Ends Its Faculty Senate, and Dissent Could Be Punished
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 2/22
Leaders of West Virginia’s Bluefield State University ended the Faculty Senate, among other changes that drew faculty criticism. Now, the university president has written a blog post mulling firing certain dissenters. Read more.
ISRAEL: Israel’s right-wing coalition ‘already damaging science’
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 2/22
Sector leaders warn of brain drain as government pushes for constitutional change to assert control over judiciary and end to recognition of degrees from Palestine. Read more.
CHINA/RUSSIA: Slamming the Door on Scholarship
Karin Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/21
War and politics could make on-the-ground study of China and Russia difficult, if not impossible. Read more.
AFGHANISTAN: Tragedy of Taliban’s ban on female students is starting to hit home
Naimatullah Zafary, Times Higher Education, 2/20
In the week his sister should have graduated in Kabul as a doctor, PhD student Naimat Zafary describes the reality of Afghan women denied their degrees. Read more.
JAPAN: Plan to restructure Japan’s science academy draws protests from researchers
Dennis Normile, Science, 2/18
Research groups in Japan are lining up against a government plan to exert greater control over the Science Council of Japan (SCJ), the country’s national scientific academy. Read more.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: Students in DRC war zones desperate to resume studies
Augustin Sadiki, University World News, 2/16
Students from universities across Goma have been protesting against the closure of universities and are demanding that the government does more to restore peace in areas affected by conflict. At least 20 institutions have closed as hostilities between M23 rebels and the government army intensified, displacing about 520,000 people since March 2022. Read more.
UNITED KINGDOM: Scholar cleared of Islamophobia says Bristol caved in to students
Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 2/15
A law professor targeted by a “vicious and potentially life-threatening” campaign that accused him of laughing at the Koran has criticised his former university for failing to stand up to student activists who continue to attack him. Read more.
AFGHANISTAN: Ismail Mashal: Family fears for outspoken professor in Taliban custody
BBC News, 2/14
“His children have been crying – they miss him,” said a member of Ismail Mashal’s family. “They keep going to the gate and asking why he’s not coming home.” Professor Mashal, a university lecturer and outspoken campaigner for women’s education in Afghanistan, was arrested by the Taliban government on 2 February. Read more.
UNITED STATES: Scholars at Risk Seminar Gives Students the Chance to Fight Erosion of Academic Freedom
Heather Mayer, Muhlenberg College, 2/13
Muhlenberg students across disciplines have the opportunity to take a hands-on approach in advocating for academic freedom with the Scholars at Risk seminar. Read more.
IRAN: Iran forces regime critics out of academia
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 2/13
Iranian academics face being forced out of their jobs as the regime clamps down on any remaining dissent in universities, researchers have warned. Read more.
TURKEY: Education union objects to closing of universities until summer after earthquakes
Eğitim-Sen called on the government and the Council of Higher Education to “start face-to-face education at the universities at the earliest possible date to be announced clearly in advance.” Read more.
IRAN: Fariba Adelkhah: French-Iranian academic released from Iran jail
Thomas Mackintosh, BBC News, 2/11
An Iranian-French academic has been released from jail in Teheran after spending more than three years in prison, France’s foreign ministry says. Read more.
INDIA: Court upholds protesting students’ rights to dissent
Shuriah Niazi, University World News, 2/10
Former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student Sharjeel Imam and 10 others have been absolved of charges of inciting violence during a protest against India’s contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in and around Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), a prestigious centrally funded university in New Delhi. Read more.
CHINA: Returning students face greater surveillance, censorship
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 2/10
China’s Education Ministry has announced that students will be returning to universities “as normal” this month for the start of the new semester after they were sent home in early December in the wake of widespread anti-Zero-COVID protests, which saw many students and others arrested. Read more.
SOUTH AFRICA: Corruption fight goes on, says v-c after ‘assassination attempt’
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 2/7
Death of bodyguard won’t deter Fort Hare leader Sakhela Buhlungu from combating ‘cancer’ of graft gripping the South African sector. Read more.
UNITED STATES: Yale expands efforts to protect scholars at risk
Mike Cummings, YaleNews, 2/7
Yale is expanding its Scholars at Risk program, which welcomes scholars facing dangerous conditions worldwide to campus so they can continue their work. Read more.
Listen now to SAR’s Free to Think Podcast:
In SAR’s “Free to Think” podcast, SAR Executive Director Rob Quinn speaks with guests who inspire us with their courage to seek and speak truth — often at great risk — as well as those who work to defend them. Tune in now to our latest episodes, available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and all major platforms. Listen now.
UNITED STATES: What Happens in Florida…
Andrew Gothard, Inside Higher Ed, 2/7
Governor DeSantis is leading an assault on the state’s public higher education institutions, Andrew Gothard writes. Read more.
IRAN: Five Years Later, McGill Alum Niloufar Bayani Remains Detained in Iran
Nikki Bozinoff, Daniel Hoops, Jamie Lundine and E. Magda Price, The McGill Daily, 2/6
January 24 marked the fifth anniversary of the detainment of eight Iranian scientists, among them our dear friend and McGill alumnus, Niloufar Bayani. Read more. Take action.
PHILIPPINES: Arrest of UP professor violates UP-DILG agreement
Anne Marxze Umil, Bulatlat, 2/6
The arrest of professor Dr. Melania Flores in her house inside the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City is in violation of the UP-Department of Interior and Local Government Accord. This is the statement of UP Faculty Regent Carl Marc Ramota as he condemned the arrest of Flores. The 1992 UP-DILG Accord prohibits uniformed personnel from entering the UP campus without coordination or notice to the administration of UP Diliman. Read more.
AMERICAS: We need to create more awareness and defend academic freedom in the Americas
Academicxs en Riesgo, 2/3
Viviana Fernández, representative of the Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (CAFA), tells us about CAFA’s objectives and activities to make visible and address the multiple challenges that the academic community is currently facing in the region. Read more.
UNITED STATES: A Subtle Subterfuge, an Outrage or Both?
Sara Weissman, Inside Higher Ed, 2/3
Florida College System presidents signed a statement promising not to support any effort that “compels belief” in critical race theory on their campuses. That prompted a deluge of criticism and, in some quarters, a little sympathy. Read more.
AFGHANISTAN: ‘Arrested And Beaten’: Afghan Professor’s Protest Against Taliban’s Education Ban On Women Lands Him In Prison
Fereshta Mursal, RFE/RL, 2/3
Professor Ismail Mashal, an Afghan academic, was arrested by the Taliban for protesting its ban on women’s education. Read more.
INDIA: Campuses seething over government Modi documentary ‘ban’
Shuriah Niazi, University World News, 2/2
Universities across India are seething over the screening of a controversial BBC documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which has been banned in the country. Read more.
UNITED STATES: The DeSantis Takeover Begins
Josh Moody, Inside Higher Ed, 2/1
Florida governor Ron DeSantis vowed to defund DEI initiatives on the same day his hand-picked trustees convened at New College of Florida and fired the president. Read more.
PERU: Peru students beaten by police in raid
Helen Packer, The PIE News, 2/1
Students in Peru say they were violently beaten by police officers during a raid at a university in Lima on January 21. Read more.
HUNGARY/EU: EUA Board urges Hungarian government to address autonomy concerns to ensure universities’ access to EU programmes
European University Association, 2/1
The Board of the European University Association (EUA) deeply regrets that students and scholars will be negatively impacted by any exclusion of Hungary from EU programmes, and consequently urges the Hungarian government to take the necessary measures to rectify this situation. Read more.
UNITED STATES: In Black Professor’s Firing, AAUP Finds ‘Racist Tropes’
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 1/30
Indiana University Northwest fired a Black professor after alleging he said something about killing white people. An AAUP report found “racist tropes of incompetent, angry and physically violent Black men in the language used to justify his dismissal.” Read more.
AFGHANISTAN: Taliban warn women can’t take entry exams at universities
Riazat Butt, AP, 1/28
The Taliban on Saturday doubled down on their ban on women’s education, reinforcing in a message to private universities that Afghan women are barred from taking university entry exams, according to a spokesman. Read more.
IRAN: Academia at risk
Nature Human Behaviour, 1/27
The call for ‘woman, life, liberty’ is a chant that rings out across Iran today, following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini. Iran’s universities have been central to several protests, and this has led to severe crackdowns by Iranian state security forces. Read more.
IRAN: Two Iranian Professors Dismissed After Supporting Student Protests
RFE/RF’s Radio Farda, 1/27
Two Iranian university professors have been fired from their jobs following their support of students in nationwide protests over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody. Read more.
UKRAINE/EU: Ukrainian students report being thrown out of European unis
Will Nott, The PIE News, 1/27
Ukrainian students have claimed they are being thrown out of European universities following a ban that prevents them from leaving the country to study abroad. Read more.
INDIA: Students arrested over banned Modi documentary screening
Shuriah Niazi, University World News, 1/26
Around a dozen people have been arrested at New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia university, four of them from the left-leaning Students Federation of India (SFI), after the SFI said it would screen a controversial BBC documentary at the campus. Read more.
CHINA/GLOBAL: Universities ‘in tricky position’ on Chinese student contracts
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 1/24
Institutions should pay heed to pressure from Beijing, but avoid depriving students of study abroad opportunities, scholars say. Read more.
UKRAINE: Russian Authorities Abduct Ukrainian Professor in Melitopol
Endangered Scholars Worldwide, 1/24
As Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine approaches the 1-year mark, Volodymyr Vorovka, a professor of marine biology at Melitopol Pedagogical University in Ukraine, was kidnapped from his home by Russian authorities in the early morning of December 13, 2022. Read more.
INDIA: Indian students defy warnings and watch Modi documentary
Tiya Thomas-Alexander, Times Higher Education, 1/24
Students at a leading Indian university have watched a controversial documentary about prime minister Narenda Modi in defiance of threatened disciplinary action and a government block on the film appearing on social media. Read more.
PERU: Statement on the situation at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in Peru
Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (CAFA), 1/23
The Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (CAFA) condemns the violation of the
physical autonomy of the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, located in Lima, by the
Peruvian National Police on Saturday, January 21, 2023. Read more.
PERU: Police violently raid Lima university and shut Machu Picchu amid Peru unrest
Dan Collyns, The Guardian, 1/22
Scores of police raided a Lima university on Saturday, smashing down the gates with an armoured vehicle, firing teargas and detaining more than 200 people who had come to the Peruvian capital to take part in anti-government protests. Read more.
VENEZUELA: Universities punished for defending democratic values
Juan Carlos Navarro, University World News, 1/21
Venezuela has been in the headlines for quite some time, given a succession of several rather extreme events. Within a few years, more than six million migrants – out of a population of 30 million people – have exited the country. Read more.
PAKISTAN: Pakistan Strengthens Already Harsh Laws Against Blasphemy
Salman Masood, The New York Times, 1/21
Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which can already mean death for those deemed to have insulted Islam or the Prophet Muhammad, can now also be used to punish anyone convicted of insulting people who were connected to him. Read more.
IRAN: Students sentenced, academics dismissed over unrest
Shafigeh Shirazi, University World News, 1/19
In addition to hundreds of student arrests, a significant number of academics in Iran have been suspended or expelled from their universities since September 2022 when protests first began on university campuses in response to the death of student Mahsa Amini. Read more.
UNITED STATES: What would a President DeSantis mean for US higher education?
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 1/19
Florida’s Trumpian governor has repeatedly attacked the freedom and expertise of the state’s university sector. With the Yale and Harvard graduate widely tipped as the 2024 Republican presidential nominee, should universities nationwide be preparing for more of the same, asks Paul Basken. Read more.