Academic Freedom Media Review Archive

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 2024. View the most recent edition of the media review here.

UNITED STATES/CHINA: Professors, students say ‘no’ to Florida as new law targets Chinese
Bochen Han, South China Morning Post, 4/10
The law requires colleges and universities to get approval before hiring or working with Chinese people who aren’t US citizens or green card holders. A legal challenge filed by two graduate students and a professor argues, among other things, that the state law usurps the power of the federal government.

SUDAN: Study reports on destruction at medical schools in Sudan
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 4/10
During a three-month period of warfare in Sudan, just over half of the medical schools in three of the worst hit conflict zones were attacked, looted and even turned into military bases.

GERMANY: German university rescinds Jewish American’s job offer over pro-Palestinian letter
Kate Connolly, The Guardian, 4/10
A leading Jewish American philosopher has been disinvited from taking up a prestigious professorship at the University of Cologne after signing a letter expressing solidarity with Palestinians and condemning the killings in Gaza carried out by Israeli forces.

GLOBAL: Restricting international research is largely a European and North American trend, global survey finds
David Matthews, Science|Business, 4/9
Tensions with China have made scientific cooperation with the West more fraught. But in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, collaboration is largely unaffected by geopolitics.

IRAN: Iran frees scientists who studied big cats in surprise move
Michele Catanzaro, Nature, 4/9
Four members of a conservation group focused on big cats who were jailed in Iran six years ago were pardoned on 7 April as part of a mass amnesty of prisoners ahead of Eid holidays at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

IRAN: Niloufar Bayani released from prison
Scholars at Risk, 4/8
Scholars at Risk celebrates the release of wrongfully imprisoned conservationist Niloufar Bayani and the news that she has been reunited with her loved ones.

DRC: Ongoing, worsening conflict’s devastating HE consequences
Augustin Sadiki, University World News, 4/8
Éric Rusinge sits in the scorching sun behind a tiny, makeshift room awaiting clients of the sports betting company he works for. The 23-year-old has just joined the company after his third-year courses at the Higher Institute of Rural Development of Rutshuru were halted because of the ongoing armed conflict that has been raging in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

UNITED STATES: Students Are Voting to Support Boycotts of Israel. How Are Colleges Responding?
Alicia Taylor, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/5
Amid a surge in campus activism related to the Israel-Hamas war, more students are voting on whether to call for their colleges to divest from Israel. Colleges have struggled with how to respond to the votes. Two colleges prevented students from voting at all.

INDIA: Student election win signals scale of anti-Modi sentiment
Shuriah Niazi, University World News, 4/4
During a fervent campaign leading up to India’s national general elections slated for April and May, a left-wing student coalition last month swept to power in student union elections held at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi.

UNITED STATES / ISRAEL: As conflict in the Middle East persists, study abroad in Israel becomes a flash point
Karin Fischer, Latitudes/Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/3
Pitzer College will pull back from a longstanding study-abroad partnership with the University of Haifa, in Israel, a relationship that has been the subject of a boycott campaign by students, faculty members, and alumni of the California liberal-arts college.

BAHRAIN: Joint Letter: Marking Al-Singace’s 1,000 Days on Hunger Strike
Scholars at Risk, 4/3
On April 3, SAR joined 27 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 1,000 days to protest the confiscation of his research documents.
Take action.

INDIA: ‘Crisis’ as Indian states battle BJP for control of universities
Helen Packer, Times Higher Education, 4/1
The tussle for control of universities between India’s state governments and the country’s ruling BJP party is causing a “crisis” in many institutions, as an ongoing spat in Kerala has escalated to presidential levels.

UNITED STATES: A Public University Wants to Prevent ‘Disruptive Activities.’ That’s Complicated.
Maggie Hicks, Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/1
The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has proposed a new “disruptive activity policy” prohibiting people from interrupting campus events, activities, and other university operations. Once finalized, it’ll be one of the first policy updates at a public college in response to protests over the Israel-Hamas war.

UNITED STATES: Black Scholars Face Anonymous Accusations in Anti-DEI Crusade
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 4/1
Since right-wing firebrand Christopher Rufo helped bring down Harvard’s president, at least seven more scholars—most of them Black—have confronted accusations of plagiarism or research misconduct spread by conservative media.

GLOBAL: Geopolitical realities and academic freedom: Whose narrative prevails? [opinion]
Khoo Ying Hooi, Malay Mail, 3/29
As part of the academic community, academic freedom holds a profound significance for me. Regrettably, for many scholars, the importance of academic freedom often goes overlooked until its absence becomes glaringly apparent. This oversight is particularly concerning in disciplines like international relations and political science, where the exploration of contentious issues is common.

SUDAN: Destruction of HE will demand post-war reform of sector
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 3/28
The imprint that the current war in Sudan and the post-war environment will have on universities underscores the importance of introducing structural reforms in the country’s higher education sector, as well as involving the Association of Sudanese Universities and private higher education institutions in post-war recovery efforts.

INDONESIA: Claiming election flaws, academics stand ready to protest
Kafil Yamin, University World News, 3/28
Concerned about election irregularities, academics are stepping up criticism of last month’s poll which saw Minister of Defence Prabowo Subianto declared the country’s president-elect on 20 March.

AUSTRALIA: Australian travel bans would cover study and research
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 3/27
People from specified countries could be banned from visiting Australia for almost any purpose, including study or research, under the latest politically fuelled crackdown on migration.

GUINEA-BISSAU: Government HE reform efforts promote discord and anger
Andreia Nogueira, University World News, 3/26
Students and lecturers in Guinea-Bissau have been protesting against their new government firing educational directors and a rector, and their replacements leading a higher education sector that has been accused of being mired in graft and inefficiency.

MALAYSIA: Student bodies laud changes to university Act
Nuqman Adam, The Sun, 3/26
Amendments empower councils with autonomy in policy and finance management

UNITED KINGDOM: Free speech tsar issues warning to universities about overseas arrangements
Eleanor Busby, The Independent, 3/26
Universities in England could be told to terminate their arrangements with foreign countries if freedom of speech and academic freedom is undermined, the Government’s free speech tsar has said.

CHINA/UNITED KINGDOM: Threats, fear and surveillance: how China targets students in the UK who criticise regime
Jesse Lau, The Guardian, 3/25
Chinese students tell the Guardian they are scared to return home and worry for their families after being followed and harassed.

UNITED STATES: Indiana Law Requires Professors to Promote ‘Intellectual Diversity’ or Face Penalties
Campbell Robertson and Anna Betts, The New York Times, 3/24
Faculty members in public universities could be disciplined or fired, even those with tenure, if they are found to fall short of the new requirements.

UNITED STATES: Can Colleges Foster Civil Discourse? Why some campus events about the war in Gaza have succeeded while others sparked controversy.
Erin Gretzinger, Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/22
Since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, protests and disruptions have proliferated on college campuses. Institutional statements have flopped. Speakers have come under fire. Events have been canceled. Leaders of elite institutions have resigned from their posts.

HONG KONG: Academics adrift after Hong Kong passes new security law
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 3/22
When Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park secured a tenure track position at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) just over a decade ago, it was the dream job for the American academic specializing in Hong Kong’s action cinema. “I felt that I had won the academic lottery,” he said. Since then, however, much has changed in a city once admired for its freedoms and openness.

CHINA/JAPAN: ‘Unease’ among China scholars as Japan-based academic disappears
Helen Packer, Times Higher Education, 3/22
Scholars are growing increasingly wary of conducting research on and in China as the country strengthens national security laws.

UNITED STATES: House Panel Advances Anti-‘Political Litmus Test’ Bills
Jessica Blake, Inside Higher Ed, 3/22
Democrats call the GOP-sponsored bills an unnecessary attempt to codify rights already protected by the First Amendment that could hinder antisemitism response.

ZIMBABWE: Tempers flare after US researchers’ deportation from Zim
Clemence Manyukwe, University World News, 3/21
Zimbabwe’s government continues to deport foreign researchers and academics from the country. The latest group to be expatriated was a group of four American researchers carrying out assessments for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

RUSSIA: What Putin’s next term means for science
Olga Dobrovidova, Nature, 3/20
Researchers in Russia expect growing isolation as Vladimir Putin embarks on six more years as president.

ROMANIA: Legal loophole allows Romanian rectors to remain in post
Mădălina Cocea, Science|Business, 3/20
Recent elections of rectors in Romania have extended long-standing leadership in universities across the country, with only six of 38 civilian state universities voting in new rectors. The rest saw their incumbent leaders secure additional terms – more than a quarter for the fourth time.

FRANCE: Controversy at Sciences-po: deans and researchers angry after Gabriel Attal’s “unannounced” visit [FRENCH]
Le Parisien with AFP, 3/19
The prestigious school is mired in heavy controversy, after accusations of anti-Semitism against the organizers of a pro-Palestinian demonstration. The Prime Minister went there, to the great dismay of teachers and researchers, who criticized on Monday a desire for “interference” by the executive.

PHILIPPINES: UP units establish Academic Freedom Committee in campuses
University of the Philippines, 3/18
The systemwide campaign for the creation of the Committee on the Promotion and Protection of Academic Freedom and Human Rights (CAFHR) gains further ground with several constituent units establishing academic freedom committees.

UNITED STATES: Virginia Officials Scrutinize Two Universities’ DEI Course Syllabi
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 3/18
A spokesman for Governor Glenn Youngkin invoked concerns about “core curriculum mandates that are a thinly veiled attempt to incorporate the progressive left’s groupthink.” Two universities’ diversity education initiatives may be in peril.

KAZAKHSTAN: Former president of Nazarbayev University issues warning
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 3/17
The former head of Kazakhstan’s Nazarbayev University (NU), a flagship research university in the Central Asian republic which teaches in English and has many international professors among its staff, has warned that the university’s much lauded academic freedom and institutional autonomy are under threat.

PALESTINE: Plan Lets Students of Gaza’s Shattered Universities Continue Studies Online
Ismail Salama, Al-Fanar Media, 3/16
The Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education said the plan would allow Gazan students whose educations have been disrupted by the Israel-Hamas war to resume their studies at institutions in the West Bank. Israeli forces invaded Gaza in October in pursuit of Hamas, and Gazan universities and schools have sustained extensive damage to their research and study facilities.

UNITED KINGDOM: After being dismissed after complaints from Chinese students, a British professor accused universities of ignoring academic freedom and bowing to money [CHINESE]
Wang Gang, VOA Chinese, 3/15
Michelle Shipworth, associate professor at the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources at University College London (UCL), revealed to the media that a course she teaches called “Data Detective” was unfairly sanctioned by UCL after Chinese students complained.

UNITED STATES: Civil Rights Groups Push Back Against Wave of Anti-DEI Bills
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 3/15
So far this year, at least five state legislatures have passed bills seeking to curtail diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education. This year’s batch may seep more into the classroom.

CHINA: Overseas students, exchanges deterred by spy laws – Academic
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 3/14
A prominent Peking University academic has said recent anti-espionage laws introduced by the Chinese government are deterring prospective foreign students from coming to China, while overly stringent restrictions are preventing Chinese academics from attending international events, despite the government’s avowed commitment to academic exchanges.

INDIA: Campus protests over citizenship law revive bitter memories
Shuriah Niazi, University World News, 3/14
Protests have erupted on university campuses in India this week after the government announced on 10 March the immediate implementation of its contentious citizenship law ahead of the upcoming 2024 general elections expected to be held between late April and May.

UNITED STATES: Attempt to revive the China Initiative killed
Karin Fischer, Latitudes/Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/13
A provision that would have reinstated the China Initiative, the federal inquiry into academic and economic espionage, has been stripped from a spending bill that President Biden signed over the weekend.

MYANMAR: Military deployment on campuses put staff, students at risk
Padone, University World News, 3/12
The presence of Myanmar’s military on university campuses since the military coup in 2021 has caused chaos in the past few months, with staff and students being effectively trapped on site during outbreaks of armed conflict, raising allegations of civilians serving as human shields.

INDIA: ‘Very Well Reasoned’: SC Refuses to Stay Bombay HC Order Acquitting Saibaba, Others
The Wire, 3/11
The Supreme Court on Monday (March 11) refused to stay the Bombay high court judgment acquitting former Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba and five others in a UAPA case, saying that the high court’s order is prima facie “very well reasoned”.

PALESTINE: In pictures and videos: BBC documents the destruction of most of Gaza’s universities [ARABIC]
Lamis Talbi and Paul Kuziak, BBC Arabic, 3/11
Videos and photos confirmed by a BBC Arabic fact-finding team showed the destruction or damage of the largest higher education institutions in Gaza following the military operations launched by Israel in the Strip.

AFGHANISTAN: Discrediting the education system of Afghanistan; Clergymen get a university degree without studying [PERSIAN]
Mukhtar Wafai, Independent Farsi, 3/9
“The meaning of this action of the Taliban is to auction off university degrees in Afghanistan.”

GREECE: Greece approves ending state monopoly on university education, despite student protests
Euronews with AP, 3/9
Greek lawmakers approved sweeping reforms early on Saturday that will end the state monopoly on university education, breaking what powerful left-wing student groups have long regarded as a major taboo.

HONG KONG: Academic freedom a top concern as new security law looms
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 3/8
A new security law for Hong Kong, which is expected to have a chilling effect on academic and other freedoms, is being rushed through the city’s legislature under an accelerated process after less than a month of public consultations.

GLOBAL: Academic Freedom Index 2024 Update
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and V-Dem Institute, 3/7
The latest edition of the Academic Freedom Index (AFI) provides an overview of the state of academic freedom in 179 countries in 2023, and trends over time.
Read the 2024 Update. Learn more about AFi.

INDIA: Ex-DU professor Saibaba released days after HC acquits him of Maoist links
Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times, 3/7
The Bombay high court’s Nagpur bench overturned a 2017 judgment of a sessions court in Gadchiroli sentencing Saibaba to life imprisonment.

AFRICA: Attacks on education in West and Central Africa on the rise
Wachira Kigotho, University World News, 3/7
Attacks on education in West and Central Africa have increased in the past 10 years and universities have not been spared, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO.

KENYA: Concerns deepen over femicide. Students are also victims
Scovian Lillian, University World News, 3/7
16 women were murdered in Kenya in January 2024. According to an analysis carried out by Africa Data Hub, about 500 women have been victims of femicide in Kenya between 2016 and 2024, a number that is likely to be higher because not all cases are reported.

GERMANY: Warning as Germany urged to revisit military research bar
Emily Dixon, Times Higher Education, 3/7
German universities could face “severe” conflicts among academics and students if the country’s stringent division between military and civilian research is eroded, it has been warned, as politicians and advisory bodies call for a reassessment, motivated in large part by Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

UNITED STATES: Columbia Has Changed Its Protest Policy—Again
Johanna Alonso, Inside Higher Education, 3/7
The university established controversial demonstration guidelines after Oct. 7. Now, it has implemented new ones—this time incorporating faculty and student feedback.

UNITED KINGDOM: UKRI clears academics accused by minister of backing ‘extremism’
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 3/5
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has found no evidence of wrongdoing by academics on an equality advisory body who were criticised by the science secretary for their social media posts questioning the government’s policy in the Israel-Gaza war.

UNITED STATES: After Texas’ DEI Bans, Administrators Got ‘Creative.’ Then They Got in Trouble.
Katherine Mangan, Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/4
As director of student belonging at the University of Texas at Tyler, Tarecka Payne was still adjusting to how her job had changed under a new law banning diversity, equity, and inclusion activities when she was ambushed in her office and secretly recorded by an undercover reporter from a right-wing news group.

UNITED STATES: College Dorm Decorations Become a Front in the Campus Free Speech Wars
Sharon Otterman, The New York Times, 3/1
Barnard College is requiring students to strip decorations from their dorm doors in the wake of protests over the Israel-Hamas war.

UKRAINE: One in five HE institutions damaged or destroyed in war
Dylan Carter, University World News, 3/1
One in five higher education institutions in Ukraine have been damaged or destroyed during the Russian invasion since 24 February 2022, according to new data.

ISRAEL: Fallout from Israel-Hamas war causing ‘significant harm’ to researchers in Israel, survey finds
Michele Chabin, Science, 2/28
Academic researchers in Israel say they are being “affected dramatically” by negative international reactions to Israel’s military actions against Hamas in Gaza, a recent survey finds. And many fear the professional fallout from the war will become much worse in the future.

UKRAINE: Overseas students still in Ukrainian limbo after two years of war
Emily Dixon, Times Higher Education, 2/29
Some international students are still stuck in Ukraine more than two years on since Russia’s invasion, trapped in a legal limbo that means they can neither officially stay in nor leave the country.

UNITED STATES: This Bill Could Silence Pro-Palestine Student Groups. It’s Not the Only One.
Alecia Taylor, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/28
A bill progressing quickly through the Indiana legislature could censor pro-Palestinian student organizations, mirroring a handful of bills across the country that purportedly aim to ban public colleges from engaging with terrorist groups.

UNITED STATES: The Kinsey Institute, the world’s top sex research center, faces existential threat from conservative attacks
Carter Sherman, The Guardian, 2/28
The future of the Kinsey Institute, the world’s premier sex research center, is in limbo. Last April, lawmakers in Indiana’s Republican-dominated state legislature voted to block the Kinsey Institute from receiving any state funds through Indiana University (IU), which houses the institute. Its researchers have spent the months since scrambling to figure out what this means for their work – and Indiana University, they say, has largely left them out of the discussion.

UNITED STATES: What Else Are We Seeing? 
Maggie Hicks, Nell Gluckman, and Audrey Williams June, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/26
The Chronicle highlights three emerging trends that could affect higher education this year.

AUSTRALIA/IRAN: Where freedom meets repression: Australian academics tread a fine line over ties to Iran
Jonathan Yerushalmy, The Guardian, 2/24
More than 20 papers involving collaboration have been published in the past year, despite the government warning against joint research projects.

IRELAND: Belfast event on ‘Academic Freedom under Threat: Global and Local Perspectives’
Queen’s University Belfast, 2/23
To discuss threats to academic freedom, over 50 people gathered in Belfast on Tuesday the 20 February, at an event of the Scholars at Risk Ireland Committee. This is the first ever event held in Northern Ireland, and as such was a joint offering hosted by Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University. Join the network.

UKRAINE: MSCA4Ukraine: standing with Ukraine’s research community
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, 2/23
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions are helping safeguard Ukraine’s research and innovation ecosystem by allowing its researchers to continue their work. Two years after the start of the invasion, we spoke to five researchers supported by MSCA4Ukraine about their journey. The MSCA4Ukraine Programme of the European Commission is implemented by a consortium comprised of Scholars at Risk Europe hosted at Maynooth University, Ireland (project coordinator),  the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the European University Association, with the French national PAUSE programme, hosted by the Collège de France, and the global Scholars at Risk Network participating as associated partners. Learn more about MSCA4Ukraine. 

IRAN: Tehran University Deploys More Hijab Enforcers
Iran International, 2/19
Iran’s University of Tehran has deployed hijab enforcers amid nationwide rebellion of mandatory headscarves, reports Iran International.

BELARUS: The State of Academia in Belarus 2023 Report
Belarusian Students’ Association, 2/14
Following the 2020 and 2021 reports on the state of academia in Belarus, the exiled Belarusian national student union BSA has published the 2023 edition of the report covering the state of academia in Belarus in 2023. Learn more.

ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe’s government bans scholarships for LGBTIQ+ students
Clemence Manyukwe, University World News, 2/22
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) student community in Zimbabwe is living in fear after the government threatened organisations offering scholarships to such students with “appropriate measures to enforce national laws, and to protect and defend national values” – a development that activists believe may affect the access to higher education of this group.

AFRICA: How universities in Africa lost their academic freedom
Wachira Kigotho, University World News, 2/22
What is the current state and fate of academic freedom in African universities? How and why did universities in Africa lose their academic freedom in the first place? What are the ongoing forms of struggle and resistance to regain academic freedom in higher education in Africa?

CHINA/RUSSIA: China becomes Russia’s biggest collaborator after war decimates science ties with the west
David Matthews, Science|Business, 2/22
China has become Russia’s biggest scientific collaborator following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, largely because ties to the west have dramatically shrunk since the war began.

GLOBAL: Scientists under arrest: the researchers taking action over climate change
Daniel Grossman, Nature, 2/21
Fed up with a lack of political progress in solving the climate problem, some researchers are becoming activists to slow global warming.

MYANMAR: Compulsory army conscription law shatters education hopes
Padone, University World News, 2/21
A new law reactivating compulsory military conscription for young men and women came into effect in Myanmar last week, filling thousands of young men and women with dread. While the law permits students to be granted temporary deferments, fears of forced conscription means many are considering leaving the country to avoid serving in the junta’s army.

UNITED STATES: Colleges Would Have to Eliminate Dozens of Jobs Under a New DEI Bill in Idaho
Megan Zahneis, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/21
Public colleges in Idaho would have to close offices and centers that do diversity, equity, and inclusion work if a Republican-backed bill introduced last week is enacted.

MAURITANIA: Student union vows to continue its protests over services
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 2/20
Protests by the National Union of Mauritanian Students, or UNEM, have entered a third month over demands related to educational services, including housing and transport for students and the allocation of scholarships.

CHINA: Release Renowned Uyghur Scholar Rahile Dawut
Scholars at Risk, 2/20
SAR sent a letter to Chinese authorities, urging them to secure the immediate release of wrongfully imprisoned Uyghur scholar Rahile Dawut. Take action.

BANGLADESH: Chhatra League in the fight for supremacy [BENGALI]
Harun Ur Rashid, Deutsche Welle, 2/18
At least four universities in Bangladesh currently have an unstable environment due to the student political organization the Chhatra League. As a result, opposition student organizations do not have much opportunity to be active.

UNITED STATES/QATAR: Scholars detect politics in Texas A&M’s decision to quit Qatar
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 2/17
The closure of Texas A&M University’s Qatar campus, which has prompted a bitter fallout, reflects the growing political influence on US institutions, according to academics.

UNITED KINGDOM: Antisemitic incidents in higher education triple amid Gaza crisis
Chris Havergal, Times Higher Education, 2/15
The number of antisemitic incidents recorded in UK higher education tripled last year as the war in Gaza fuelled anti-Jewish hate on campuses, according to a new report.

UNITED STATES: The Fight Over Academic Freedom
Jennifer Schuessler, The New York Times, 2/16
Amid spiraling campus speech debates, many professors are rallying in defense of a bedrock principle. But can they agree on just what it means?

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: ‘We are tired of wars …’ say protesting students and staff
Augustin Sadiki, University World News, 2/15
Thousands of students from universities across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) took to the streets from 12 February as part of national protests against the ongoing attacks, incursions and fighting, in particular in the east, that have been ravaging the country and are continuously disrupting their education.

VENEZUELA: Arrest of professor and human rights defender Rocío San Miguel also violates academic freedom and democracy [SPANISH]
Aula Abierta, 2/13
Aula Abierta rejects the arbitrary detention and forced disappearance for more than four days of the university professor and human rights defender in Venezuela Rocío San Miguel, since she was approached by agents of the Directorate of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) and the Bolivarian Intelligence Agency (SEBIN) on February 9, 2024.

INDIA: ‘It Is Suffocating’: A Top Liberal University Is Under Attack in India
Sameer Yasir, The New York Times, 2/10
A campaign to make the country an explicitly Hindu nation has had a chilling effect on left-leaning and secular institutions like Jawaharlal Nehru University.

INDONESIA: Indonesia election 2024: students protest Jokowi’s perceived lack of neutrality, but will movement impact voters?
Resty Woro Yuniar, South China Morning Post, 2/10
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has been a target of mounting criticisms from academics and students for his perceived lack of neutrality in the coming election, but observers say that the movement will do little to change the course of the election on February 14.

NEPAL: Academics reject draft law that ‘politicises’ universities
Binod Ghimire, University World News, 2/9
A draft law on universities and higher education in Nepal has met with fierce criticism from the country’s academics who say it allows political leaders and bureaucrats to become involved in policy decisions at universities.

THAILAND: Student groups criticise court verdict that blocks royal reform
Teeranai Charuvastra, University World News, 2/8
Student organisations at nine universities across Thailand have rallied behind a liberal-leaning political party’s effort to amend a law that practically forbids any open discussion about the country’s royal family, days after a top court blocked the attempt at the reform.

GHANA: UTAG kicks against re-submission of Public Universities Bill
Emmanuel Bonney, Graphic Online, 2/8
The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) says it is against the passage of the Public Universities Bill in its current form and, therefore, demands its immediate withdrawal from Parliament. It said the disregard for consultation with the association, coupled with the alarming disregard for the concerns of the university community, demonstrated a lack of respect for the principles of shared governance and academic freedom. Learn more about academic freedom in Ghana in Free to Think 2022.

UNITED STATES: Is Institutional Neutrality Catching On?
Michael Vasquez, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/8
Amid a polarized political climate and debates about the war in Gaza and hot-button social issues like abortion rights, university leaders’ statements about current events have attracted attention and scrutiny. A small but growing number of institutions are responding to the pressure by swearing off such statements altogether.

UNITED STATES: Six dangerous bills that would censor speech on campuses across the country
Samantha LaFrance, PEN America, 2/7
It has been a tumultuous few months for higher ed. Responding to low public trust, raucous protest, and rising incidents of both antisemitism and Islamophobia on campus, legislators are doubling down on their yearslong campaign to destabilize academia, censor college classrooms, and wear down the safeguards that help protect academic freedom.

UNITED STATES/UKRAINE: Bringing Rehabilitation Expertise to Ukraine’s Wounded: Organizing Training for Doctors During Wartime
Scholars at Risk, 2/7
In November 2023, rehabilitation specialists from Ukraine participated in a two-week training program established by Dr. Alex Moroz at New York University. Join the Network. Host a Scholar.

UNITED STATES: Campus Vote on Antisemitism Resolution Is Microcosm of National Debate
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 2/7
Someone called Oct. 7 “a beautiful day” at a University of North Carolina event. The Faculty Council then “indefinitely postponed” a resolution that would have condemned the statement.

IRAN: The continuation of “self-improvement” in universities; Dismissal of 25 professors of Tehran University in two years [PERSIAN]
Voice of America, 2/7
Iranian media has reported the continuation of a series of dismissals of professors. More than 25 professors were dismissed from the University of Tehran in two years, most of whom are in the field of humanities.

HONG KONG: Another security law proposed as academic exodus continues
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 2/7
A new local security law proposed by the Hong Kong government specifically under the city’s legal system outlines seven national security offenses and also adds new ‘state secrets’ prohibiting disclosure of economic and social information or technology and science deemed to be of importance to the security of Hong Kong or China.

KUWAIT: Impact of gender segregation in Kuwait university debated
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 2/7
The implementation of gender segregation at Kuwait’s public university is another blow to gender equality in the oil-rich state, some experts believe. Manar Sabry, senior assistant director of strategic analysis at Binghamton University in the US, said some Kuwait University faculty had raised concerns about the autonomy of the institution, particularly around governmental decisions and interference.

UNITED STATES: When a threat becomes an excuse to muzzle: A sweeping punishment, a canceled art show, and the silencing of pro-Palestinian voices
Maggie Hicks, Chronicle of Higher Education, 2/6
Since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, many colleges have limited where protests can happen, restricted what people are allowed to say, suspended student groups from campus, and canceled events. Often, colleges have cited safety as the sole reason an event or protest can’t take place.

AUSTRALIA/CHINA: ‘Hostage diplomacy’: Yang Hengjun death sentence rocks relationship with China
Eryk Bagshaw and Matthew Knott, The Sydney Morning Herald, 2/5
Australia and China’s push to stabilize relations after years of turmoil has been shattered by the shock suspended death sentence handed to Australian academic Yang Hengjun after five years of being held on vague espionage charges.
Read SAR’s report on his arrest in 2019.

RUSSIA: Academics face scrutiny of contact with foreign peers
University World News, 2/2
The Russian government will continue to tighten control over the communication and cooperation of local university professors with foreign academics, according to recent statements made by representatives of the state and sources close to leading Russian universities.

GREECE: Students and police clash in Greece as debate rages over legalizing private universities
Srdjan Nedeljkovic And Costas Kantouris, Associated Press, 2/1
Police and student protesters clashed in the center of the Greek capital on Thursday after a demonstration against government plans to allow private universities.

UZBEKISTAN: ‘We’ll Kill You’: Karakalpak Students Face Threats, Arrest In Uzbekistan For Voicing Support For Anti-Government Protests
Farangis Najibullah, RFE/RL, 2/1
“I was taken to a dark room with no windows, where four men — two of them in police uniforms — threatened me, saying: ‘We’ll kill you here and no one will know.'” This is how a university student from Karakalpakstan, an autonomous region in Uzbekistan’s northwest that was the scene of unprecedented protests in 2022, described the threats he said he received during detention.

UNITED STATES: Foreign Governments Silencing International Students and Educators in the United States
Yana Gorokhovskaia and Grady Vaughan, Freedom House, 1/31
Authoritarian governments are using dangerous tools to intimidate international students, visiting scholars, and faculty on American campuses. While Chinese authorities pose the single greatest threat, the governments of Egypt, India, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia have also targeted international students and faculty with online harassment, digital surveillance, hacking and spyware, threats, and the intimidation of family members residing in their homelands.

ISRAEL: The war in Gaza is leading to deep divisions at Israeli universities
Jackie Northam, NPR, 1/30
The University of Haifa sits high on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, offering spectacular views from Mount Carmel for its 17,000 students. It is Israel’s most diverse university — about 40% of students are Palestinian citizens of Israel. It’s a place where you can hear both Hebrew and Arabic, and where learning — until recently — overrode many of Israel’s deep divisions. That delicate equilibrium changed Oct. 7, when Hamas militants attacked Israel.

PALESTINE: Academia in Gaza ‘has been destroyed’ by Israeli ‘educide’
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 1/29
Israel has been accused of deliberately targeting universities and academics in Gaza as part of a strategy branded “educide”.

UNITED STATES: College Presidents Are Quietly Organizing to Support DEI
Eric Kelderman, Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/29
About a year ago, as state legislatures grew interested in dismantling higher ed’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, a small group of college presidents started getting together to discuss what they could do about it.

CHINA: Party strengthens control of Chinese university administration
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 1/29
China’s move to take more direct control of university governance is likely to presage a further crackdown on academic freedom, experts have warned.

UNITED STATES: What Removing Sociology as a Core-Course Option Means for Florida’s Students
Beckie Supiano, Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/26
Pulling introductory sociology from the list of courses students could take to meet the state’s social-sciences requirement is just the latest in a long list of moves by Florida Republicans to reshape higher education in the Sunshine State — a push that a special committee of the American Association of University Professors has characterized as a “systematic effort to dictate and enforce conformity with a narrow and reactionary political and ideological agenda.”

EUROPE: Abandon plan for foreign funding register, universities tell EU
Emily Dixon, Times Higher Education, 1/26
Sector leaders have called on the European Union to abandon a planned initiative aimed at combating “foreign interference in [the EU’s] democratic systems”, fearing that universities could be unduly charged with “representing foreign interests”.

AFGHANISTAN: A relocated university restores hope for female students
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 1/26
When the Afghan capital Kabul fell to the Taliban in August 2021, more swiftly than anyone had anticipated, it unleashed chaos in the lives of Afghan people, including students at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) who felt particularly vulnerable due to the institution’s association with the United States.

PAKISTAN: Terror threat prompts university closures ahead of polls
Ameen Amjad Khan, University World News, 1/26
Four major universities and several colleges and schools have been closed in Pakistan’s federal capital Islamabad based on intelligence reports of a possible suicide attack following Pakistan’s killing this month of Baloch activists hiding in the area close to the border with neighbouring Iran.

UNITED STATES: NYPD investigating claims that pro-Palestinian protesters at Columbia were hit with ‘skunk spray’
Ramsey Khalifeh, Gothamist, 1/23
The NYPD and federal authorities are investigating a possible hate crime targeting pro-Palestinian students who were blasted with suspected “skunk spray” while rallying at Columbia University.

BRAZIL: A year after Bolsonaro, Brazilian campuses are still recovering
Tom Williams, Times Higher Education, 1/25
A change in atmosphere has encouraged academics to return to the country where they were once maligned, but funding pressures and issues with polarisation continue.

EUROPE: EU project to explore impact of nationalism on HE freedoms
Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News, 1/24
A 38-country interdisciplinary research project funded by Horizon Europe – coordinated by Aarhus University in Denmark – will examine how shifting geopolitics and the rise of new nationalisms restrictively influence freedom and openness in European higher education and research and suggest ways to address perceived threats.

EUROPE: Brussels commits to institutional autonomy on research security
Emily Dixon, Times Higher Education, 1/24
European Commission stresses that ‘with academic freedom comes academic responsibility’, aiming to ‘de-risk, not to de-couple’ scientific collaboration.

UNITED STATES: Barnard College’s Restrictions on Political Speech Prompt Outcry
Sharon Otterman, New York Times, 1/24
Professors and free speech advocates are protesting a decision by the college to monitor and remove pro-Palestinian statements and other speech the college deems too political.

ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Israel’s military says it will review its demolition of a university building in Gaza
Aaron Boxerman, Arijeta Lajka and Riley Mellen, New York Times, 1/22
After a video of the Israeli military’s demolition of a large university building in Gaza circulated widely on social media, prompting pushback from U.S. officials and others, the military said Sunday that it would review the incident.

UNITED STATES: Amid Gaza Protests, Universities Are Cracking Down On A Celebrated Protest Tactic: Sit-ins
Prem Thakker, The Intercept, 1/21
On college campuses around the country, administrators are responding to peaceful sit-ins with sanctions and criminal charges.

UNITED STATES: ‘America Is Under Attack’: Inside the Anti-D.E.I. Crusade
Nicholas Confessore, New York Times, 1/20
Long before Claudine Gay resigned Harvard’s presidency this month under intense criticism of her academic record, her congressional testimony about campus antisemitism and her efforts to promote racial justice, conservative academics and politicians had begun making the case that the decades-long drive to increase racial diversity in America’s universities had corrupted higher education.

SINGAPORE: Government influence on university events ‘concerning’, says MP
Emily Dixon, Times Higher Education, 1/20
Jamus Jerome Lim, who raised issue in Singaporean parliament, says diverse ideas must be ‘allowed to circulate and be subject to debate’.

EUROPE/GLOBAL: Students advocate for wrongfully-detained scholars worldwide – European Student Advocacy Days 2023
Scholars at Risk, 1/19
On December 14-15, 2023, Scholars at Risk, in collaboration with the University of Trento, the University of Padova, and SAR Italy, and co-funded by the European Union, co-hosted the first-ever in-person European Student Advocacy Days. Throughout the two days, over 200 students, faculty, SAR scholars, civil society representatives, and members of the public gathered at University of Trento for the event, a conference and workshop for students and faculty from SAR’s Student Advocacy Seminars and Legal Clinics. Start a seminar. Start a legal clinic.

CHINA: China’s ruling party takes direct control of country’s universities
Gu Ting, Radio Free Asia, 1/18
The Chinese Communist Party is taking a direct role in the running of universities across the country amid ongoing mergers of embedded party committees with presidents’ offices, Radio Free Asia has learned.

HUNGARY: Erasmus ban ‘regretful’ but MEPs agree the EU must safeguard academic freedom in Hungary
Thomas Brent, Science|Business, 1/18
The European Parliament has rejected a call to bring Hungarian universities back into the Erasmus student and academic mobility scheme, with a large majority of MEPs insisting prime minister Viktor Orbán must make the required reforms first.

PALESTINE: Israel destroys last university in Gaza as strikes continue
Laura Pollock, The National, 1/18
Gaza’s last standing university was destroyed by the Israeli army on Wednesday as military continued to strike targets in areas of the besieged territory where it has told civilians to seek refuge. Read more.

SENEGAL: In Senegal, online teaching at the University of Dakar, closed since June, does not satisfy students [FRENCH]
Le Monde, 1/18
Known for being a place of protest, Cheikh-Anta-Diop University closed its doors seven months ago, after the riots following the conviction of opponent Ousmane Sonko. Read more.

UKRAINE: Uprooted Ukrainian scientists may never return from their new research homes
Richard Stone, Science, 1/17
As war drags on, officials ponder how to coax academics back to regions the country hopes to recapture. Read more.

PHILIPPINES/SINGAPORE: Unwelcome Critics: Public Intellectuals in a Polarised World [Webinar Recording]
Academia.SG, 1/17
Academics are often disparaged for confining themselves to their “ivory tower”. But, those who venture into the public square may not be welcomed with open arms. On the contrary, academics trying to play the role of public intellectuals face a range of state and non-state penalties including, in some countries, threats to their lives and livelihoods. In this webinar, two emerging scholars from the Philippines and Singapore share their experiences. Watch here.

MALI: HE institutions struggle as Islamists tighten security noose
Chiaka Doumbia, University World News, 1/16
An ongoing insurgency of armed Islamist groups is affecting educational and research activities in the northern regions of Mali, particularly Timbuktu and Gao. Since August 2022, the two large cities have been under a blockade imposed by the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM – le Groupe de Soutien à l’Islam et aux Musulmans), affiliated with al-Qaeda. Read more.

CANADA: Canada’s new research security rules target institutions in China, Iran, Russia
Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press, 1/16
The federal government will not bankroll sensitive scientific research tied to dozens of schools, institutes and labs in China, Iran and Russia under new restrictions announced Tuesday. Read more.

ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Higher education ‘under attack’ in Gaza and Israel
Helen Packer, The PIE News, 1/15
Governments and armed groups must refrain from attacking higher education communities in Israel and Palestine, Scholars at Risk has urged, as the conflict in Gaza continues to take its toll on students and academics.
Read more.  Read the call.

CHINA: Ten years since arrest, SAR calls for release of Professor Tohti
Scholars at Risk, 1/15
Professor Ilham Tohti was arrested ten years ago today for promoting dialogue and reconciliation between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. Scholars at Risk demands his immediate release. Read more. Take action.

Students Advocated for Nine Unjustly Imprisoned Scholars and Students in the 2022-23 Year
SAR published its second Student Advocacy Seminar end-of-year report detailing the research and advocacy work of over 500 students at 21 universities in 8 different countries during the 2022-23 academic year. Participants raised awareness about nine Scholars in Prison Project cases from China to Central Europe to the Middle East.
Learn more. Read the report.

HONG KONG: Why is it so tough to be a Hong Kong university president? The politics of the city will trap them, analysts warn
Cannix Yau, South China Morning Post, 1/13
Rocky Tuan from Chinese University this week joined a list of university heads or other top management who ended their contracts early. Analysts and academics say it’s ‘inevitable’ for university chiefs to become embroiled in politics in Hong Kong and point to lack of trust between authorities and institutions. Read more.

SINGAPORE: Singapore university events ‘must be in national interest’
Emily Dixon, Times Higher Education, 1/13
Events at Singaporean universities should “respect…wider social norms and act in line with national interests”, its government has said.
Read more.

NICARAGUA: Goodbye to the classroom: Teachers prefer to resign rather than politically indoctrinate university students [SPANISH]
Confidencial, 1/12
Over 1,200 professors have been fired from government-seized universities, and teachers prefer to look for another job or emigrate, instead of indoctrinating university students. Read more.

RUSSIA/AUSTRIA: Russia Blacklisted a Prominent University. Its Russian Students and Staff Now Risk Arrest.
Karin Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/11
Russian citizens studying and working at Central European University say the Russian government’s blacklisting of the liberal-arts institution puts them in a precarious position, exposing them to penalties or even prosecution if they return to their home country. Read more.

IRAN: Q&A: Encieh Erfani brings attention to fellow displaced scholars
Rachel Brazil, Physics Today, 1/10
The Iranian cosmologist has struggled to find a professional and physical place to call home after she publicly supported the country’s “Woman, Life, Freedom” protest movement. Read more.

CANADA/CHINA: Court upholds decision to deny visa to student from China
Nathan Greenfield, University World News, 1/8
The Federal Court of Canada (FCC) has upheld the 2022 decision of a visa officer to deny a Chinese national a visa that would have allowed him to enroll in a PhD science programme at the University of Waterloo (UW), one of Canada’s premier science and technology universities. Read more.

UNITED STATES: House Investigations of Harvard, Others Mark a ‘Watershed Moment’
Katherine Knott, Inside Higher Education, 1/11
Deep-diving probes into antisemitism, plagiarism and university leaders signal a dangerous new era in congressional oversight, experts and scholars say. Some see echoes of McCarthyism. Read more.

HONG KONG: Vice-chancellor, targeted by pro-Beijing factions, to quit
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 1/10
In a move that has unsettled, but not entirely surprised, the academic community of Hong Kong, Rocky Tuan, vice-chancellor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), announced his resignation this week after months of targeted criticism by pro-Beijing newspapers and legislators in Hong Kong.
Read more.

BRAZIL: In Brazil, one in two female researchers has faced sexual harassment
Meghie Rodrigues, Nature, 1/9
The report — Profile of the Early and Mid-Career Brazilian Scientist, published last September — finds that 47% of women have dealt with sexual harassment in Brazilian academia, compared with one in 10 men. Read more.

MYANMAR: University student population has plunged 90% since coup
RFA Burmese, 1/8
Myanmar’s university student population has plummeted by more than 90% since the military’s takeover nearly three years ago, according to statistics published by the junta’s department of education.
Read more.

RUSSIA: Russian universities promote re-election of Putin
Olesia Krivtsova, The Barents Observer, 1/8
Russian universities have joined Vladimir Putin’s election campaign. At the end of December, similar messages appeared on the websites of educational institutions, as well as on their pages on VK, Russia’s largest social media platform. Read more.

ISRAEL: War Brings Tensions, and Assault Rifles, Into an Israeli College
Adam Sella, New York Times, 1/7
At the University of Haifa, more than 40 percent of students are Arab, some with family in Gaza, and many others have now been called up as soldiers. Read more.

UNITED STATES: Are Professors Really Fleeing Universities in Red States?
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 1/3
Some academics have publicly announced resignations, but evidence of a mass faculty exodus from states like Florida is thin, at least so far. Media hyped a brain drain regardless. Read more.

EUROPE: Politics and protests puts Europe’s academic freedom policies under the spotlight
Fintan Burke, Science|Business, 1/4
Wars on Europe’s doorstep, tech espionage and illiberal governments are spurring the EU and national governments to rethink who should take the lead on academic freedom. Read more.

UNITED KINGDOM: OfS’ delayed Stock investigation ‘shows free speech difficulties’
Tom Williams, Times Higher Education, 1/3
The Office for Students’ investigation into events surrounding the resignation of Kathleen Stock at the University of Sussex has entered its third year, hinting at the difficulties the English regulator will face when trying to adjudicate over free speech issues, according to legal experts. Read more.

UNITED STATES: How a Proxy Fight Over Campus Politics Brought Down Harvard’s President
Nicholas Confessore, New York Times, 1/2
The resignation of Harvard’s president, Claudine Gay, on Tuesday followed a lengthening catalog of plagiarism allegations that appeared to steadily sap her support among the university’s faculty, students and alumni. But for many of Dr. Gay’s critics, her departure was also a proxy victory in the escalating ideological battle over American higher education. Read more.

AFGHANISTAN: Afghan women and girls flock online to evade Taliban curbs on female education
Andrew Jack and Benjamin Parkin, Financial Times, 1/2
Tens of thousands of Afghan women and girls have been able to join online study programmes despite the Taliban government’s ban on female education, according to internet-based course providers. Read more.