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: ‘Vindicated’: Embattled misinformation researchers celebrate key US Supreme Court decision
Jeff Tollefson, Nature, 6/26
The justices rule that the US government can keep talking to scientists and social-media firms with the aim of curbing falsehoods online.

TURKEY: Turkish academics doubt court ruling will limit president’s power
Emily Dixon, Times Higher Ed, 6/26
Academics have offered measured responses to a recent court ruling appearing to nullify the Turkish president’s power to appoint university rectors, telling Times Higher Education that a complete “overhaul” of the country’s higher education system was needed.

PORTUGAL/UNITED KINGDOM: Call to boycott publisher after sexual misconduct book scrapped
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Ed, 6/24
Academics are being urged to boycott a publisher after it “unpublished” a book on sexual misconduct in universities which had triggered legal threats.

GLOBAL: Academic freedom just as crucial as a free press or independent judiciary, says Special Rapporteur
Special Rapporteur on the right to education, 6/24
In every region of the world, people exercising their academic freedom face repression, whether through direct and violent or more subtle methods, an independent expert warned today. In her report to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, Farida Shaheed, said restrictions aimed to control public opinion undermine free thinking and limit academic and scientific debate. Read the Special Rapporteur’s report.

VIETNAM: Academic freedom in Vietnam: when education goes hand in hand with politics [VIETNAMESE]
BBC Vietnam, 6/23
Vietnam is still in the low-ranking group in terms of academic freedom, as education must always be associated with the policies, guidelines and stance of the Communist Party.

GLOBAL: Steep rise in military attacks on higher education globally
Brendan O’Malley, University World News, 6/21
The latest Education under Attack report published by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA) notes a steep rise in military and political violence against education in general and higher education in particular during 2022 and 2023 as conflict around the world increased.

UNITED STATES: Florida Argues It Could Stop Professors From Criticizing Governor
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Ed, 6/21
A nationally prominent conservative lawyer, hired to defend the state’s Stop WOKE Act, asserted that what public university professors say in classrooms “is the government’s speech.” The national implications for academic freedom could be dire.

UNITED STATES/UAE: Scholars blast NYU Abu Dhabi ‘crackdown’ on Palestinian support
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 6/21
The apparent silencing of pro-Palestinian activism at New York University Abu Dhabi has “shattered the perception” that the institution can provide real academic freedom within its United Arab Emirates campus, according to critics.

INDIA: Is Narendra Modi’s electoral setback a win for Indian HE?
Helen Packer, Times Higher Education, 6/20
A decade of rule by the Hindu-nationalist BJP has seen a combustible mixture of technocratic reform and political interference in higher education. But the party’s below-par showing in this month’s general election has left some academics daring to hope for quieter days ahead. Helen Packer reports

GLOBAL: Education Under Attack 2024 report
Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, 6/20
The Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack has released its annual flagship report covering attacks on education in 2022 and 2023.

GLOBAL: ‘It can feel like there’s no way out’ — political scientists face pushback on their work
Dyani Lewis and Alison Abbott, Nature, 6/19
In a year in which numerous countries are going to the polls, many election-watching scientists are under pressure.

SYRIA: University of Damascus student body tortured students amid Syria revolution, report reveals
Middle East Monitor, 6/19
A student body at Syria’s University of Damascus committed acts of detention, torture and gender-based violence during the first few years of the Syrian revolution, a new report has revealed.

IRAN: A Message from a Swedish Prisoner: Prime Minister Kristersson, You Left Me Behind
Shima Shahrabi, IranWire, 6/18
Ahmadreza Djalali, a Swedish-Iranian doctor on death row in Iran, has demanded answers from the Swedish government for “leaving him behind” following an Iran-Sweden prisoner swap that released a convicted war criminal. Take action.

ESTONIA/RUSSIA: Russian professor jailed in Estonia on espionage charges
Emily Dixon, Times Higher Education, 6/18
A former professor at Estonia’s University of Tartu has been convicted on espionage charges and sentenced to six years and three months in prison.

GERMANY: German science official steps down in row about pro-Palestine protest
David Matthews, Science|Business, 6/17
An academic freedom scandal in Germany has claimed a top-ranking official in the country’s federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), after the ministry appeared to check whether it could strip funding from academics who had supported a pro-Palestinian protest camp.

UNITED STATES: New Louisiana law seeks crackdown on civil disobedience in campus protests
Piper Hutchinson, Louisiana Illuminator, 6/17
Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry has enacted a law to exclude acts of civil disobedience from free speech protections on college campuses.

UNITED STATES: Michigan, CUNY didn’t suitably assess if Israel-Hamas war protests made environment hostile, US says
Collin Binkley and Annie Ma, Associated Press, 6/17
The University of Michigan and the City University of New York did not adequately investigate complaints about antisemitic or anti-Palestinian harassment linked to campus protests over the Israel-Hamas war and other incidents, according to the results of investigations by the U.S. Education Department announced Monday.

UNITED STATES: Middle East scholars are under pressure [ESSAY]
Marc Lynch and Shibley Telhami, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 6/14
Since October 2023, fierce arguments over the appropriate balance between free speech and campus security, the role of external advocacy groups and congressional intervention, and the real intentions of those protesting the Israel-Hamas war have consumed virtually all sectors of campus life. But faculty members and graduate students who work on the Middle East were among those most directly affected by the controversies.

MEXICO: Mexican scholars hope for change as scientist takes presidency
Tom Williams, Times Higher Education, 6/13
A climate scientist has become the first female leader of Mexico after winning a record-breaking majority on the back of promises to make the country into a “scientific and innovation power”, but questions remain over how far she will break from the populist policies of her predecessor.

GERMANY/UKRAINE: Ukrainian science needs coordinated support, German alliance says
Thomas Brent, Science|Business, 6/13
A coordinated approach to supporting and rebuilding Ukraine’s science ecosystem is necessary and should be planned for now, the Alliance of German Science Organisations said as it set out a new plan with a long-term scope.

UNITED KINGDOM: Legal action over Gaza encampments on UK campuses
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 6/13
The fate of pro-Palestinian encampments on UK university campuses appear to be up in the air as term draws to a close – with some celebrating victories for the divestment movement and others facing court action.

UNITED STATES: Affirmative Action Fallout Sours Donor Relations
Liam Knox, Inside Higher Ed, 6/13
The University of Missouri system is removing racial criteria from endowed scholarships, saying they run afoul of the Supreme Court’s affirmative action ban. Donors feel disrespected—and some may be ready to go to court.

SINGAPORE: Space for expressing Gaza solidarity ‘narrower’ – Students
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 6/12
The narrow space for campus protests over issues such as the conflict in Gaza will be restricted even more by Singapore’s proposed new law on the ‘Maintenance of Racial Harmony’ according to Singaporean students and alumni.

CANADA: Canadian universities say foreign influence registry could harm research partnerships
Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press, 6/10
Canada’s leading research universities warn that a proposed foreign influence transparency registry could have an unintended “chilling effect” on international partnerships, meaning Canada misses out on cutting-edge opportunities.

MYANMAR: Myanmar’s conscription law is threatening student activism [OPINION]
Julie Marie Hansen, University World News, 6/10
Young people are at the forefront of the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar. Yet, their futures look bleak amidst constant attacks from the military junta, known as Tatmadaw. With the recent enforcement of the 2010 conscription law, young people are not only being coerced to give up their educational and professional pursuits, but also their fight for a free Myanmar.

GERMANY: The war in the Gaza Strip has heightened emotions in German universities [RUSSIAN]
Lena Shmitz, Deutsche Welle, 6/10
Protests have been taking place on campuses in various German cities for months, and the head of a university in Berlin may lose his post due to the scandal. What’s happening?

UNITED STATES: Colleges in Republicans’ Crosshairs Enroll Only a Sliver of U.S. College Students
Katherine Knott, Inside Higher Ed, 6/10
Only about one percent of U.S. undergraduates attend the 12 mostly elite, mostly private institutions under Congressional scrutiny. But conservatives are casting them as emblematic of higher education writ large.

The ‘Scholars of Ukraine’ to Receive Scholars at Risk 2024 Courage to Think Award
On June 10, SAR announced that the ‘scholars of Ukraine’ are the recipient of the 2024 Courage to Think Award, recognizing their courage, resilience, and unwavering commitment to their teaching, research, students, and higher education institutions, despite the existential threat posed by war. The award will be presented at the SAR Global Congress on Wednesday, June 26th at the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius, Lithuania. Learn more about the SAR 2024 Global Congress.

TANZANIA: University professors’ exodus to politics: A growing concern for Tanzania’s higher education
Jacob Mosenda, The Citizen, 6/8
Professors and lecturers, once the custodians of knowledge and academic excellence, are increasingly abandoning their posts for the allure of political and government appointments.

UNITED STATES: FBI asks scientists for trust in taking anti-Asian bias seriously
Neil Savage, Nature, 6/11
In a rare meeting between the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the academic community on Thursday, members of the FBI sought to reassure researchers of Asian descent that their concerns over discrimination are being heard.

RUSSIA: ‘Spy mania’: Why is Russia accusing its own physicists of treason?
Sergei Goryashko, BBC, 6/8
Russian President Vladimir Putin frequently boasts that his country is leading the world in developing hypersonic weapons, which travel at more than five times the speed of sound. But a string of Russian physicists working on the science underlying them have been charged with treason and imprisoned in recent years, in what rights groups see as an overzealous crackdown.

AUSTRALIA: Senators berate Australian National University over Gaza position
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 6/7
In rerun of US Congress hearing, Australian university executives reprimanded over both insensitivity to antisemitism and ‘complicity’ in Gaza slaughter.

IRAN: The Mahsa Revolution and Student Protests in Iran
Amirkabir Newsletter, 6/5
This report details the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement in Iran that emerged after the death of Mahsa Amini on September 16, 2022, while in police custody. Despite facing intense repression, these student movements persist in their advocacy for human rights in Iran.

UNITED STATES/CHINA: Advisory committee makes recommendations on research security, transnational repression
Karin Fischer, Latitudes/Chronicle of Higher Education, 6/5
A federal academic-advisory council is urging the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to do more to tackle research security and transnational repression, including strengthening cross-governmental coordination, sharing risk assessments and recommendations for best practices with colleges, and working with higher-education and Asian American groups to limit inadvertent harm to researchers from government policies.

UNITED STATES: UNC System’s Controlled DEI Demolition
Liam Knox, Inside Higher Education, 6/5
The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors voted to repeal the system’s DEI policy. Will the outcomes differ from those in states that did so through legislation?

UNITED STATES: US campus protests expose special risk for adjuncts
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 6/5
Hundreds of adjunct faculty are believed to have withheld their views or altered their teaching amid the student anti-war protests that have swept the US, while others have faced job-related repercussions for voicing pro-Palestinian opinions, in actions that some argue are eroding academic freedom.

ISRAEL: Israeli University Heads Accuses Student Union of ‘McCarthyist Incitement’ in Proposed Law
Lior Dattel, Haaretz, 6/4
Research universities in Israel are opposing a law initiated by the Student Union that ‘lethally harms academic independence and freedom of expression’ and mandates academic institutions to fire lecturers who speak out in a way perceived as harming the state

UNITED KINGDOM: More campus events and speakers barred by English universities
Patrick Jack, Times Higher Education, 6/3
The number of events or speakers rejected by English higher education providers has more than tripled since the pandemic, figures show, though an overwhelming majority were still approved.

CHINA: Fears mount over detention of academics who travelled to China
Helen Packer, Times Higher Education, 6/3
New details have been revealed about the fate of academics who have not been seen or heard from since visiting China, leaving scholars “extremely concerned” about repression.

UNITED STATES: Colleges Eye Rule Changes in the Wake of Spring Protests
Josh Moody, Inside Higher Education, 5/31
Pro-Palestinian encampments and protests strained college policies this spring. As summer sets in, some are revising rules ahead of a potentially tumultuous fall.

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban push for normalizing male-only higher education
Akmal Dawi, Voice of America, 5/28
In coming weeks, tens of thousands of students in Afghanistan are set to sit for university entrance examinations. Notably absent from the list of candidates will be females.

MEXICO: Mexico’s next president is likely to be this scientist — but researchers are split in their support
Humberto Basilio, Nature, 5/30
Some are hopeful, but others worry that Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo will follow in her controversial predecessor’s footsteps rather than stand up for science.

BAHRAIN: Joint Letter on Human Rights Situation in Bahrain
Scholars at Risk, 5/30
Scholars at Risk joins over 30 civil society organizations in calling on Member and Observer States of the United Nations Human Rights Council to raise concerns over the human rights situation in Bahrain, including the unjust imprisonment of Bahraini scholar Dr. Abduljalil Al-Singace.

UNITED STATES: Tenure Under Fire—Again—in North Dakota
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Education, 5/30
Republican lawmakers and a university president pushed a bill last year that would diminish faculty job protections at two institutions. It failed by a hair, but the State Board of Higher Education has taken up the mantle.

UNITED STATES: AAUP Report Finds ‘Well-Funded’ Right-Wing Attacks on Higher Ed
Jessica Blake, Insider Higher Education, 5/30
More than 150 bills designed to “undermine academic freedom and university autonomy” were introduced in 35 state legislatures across the country between 2021 and 2023, according to a new white paper released by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) on Wednesday.

NETHERLANDS: Foreign students and research funding face ‘shocking’ cuts
Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News, 5/29
The Dutch right-wing coalition platform’s recently published outline agreement promises to scrap research funding schemes, slash research spending by billions of euros and reduce the number of foreign students in the Netherlands. Experts describe it as bad news for higher education innovation and internationalization.

CHINA/TAIWAN: China likely to rebuff Taiwanese president’s call for students
Helen Packer, Times Higher Education, 5/24
Beijing is unlikely to allow its citizens to resume enrolling at Taiwanese universities, according to academics, as the inauguration of a new president causes cross-Strait relations to deteriorate further.

UNITED STATES: US parents flex power in campus confrontations
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 5/27
As US campus confrontations evaporate with the summer break, a key but mostly behind-the-scenes constituency – the parents of students – is flexing its power in ways that could be critical in shaping the long-term effects and future course of free speech uprisings.

AUSTRALIA: Dialogue prevails as Australian campus Gaza protests recede
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 5/24
Conversation is trumping confrontation at Australian universities, as protest camps gradually disband and administrators resist demands to treat pro-Palestine activists with a heavy hand.

SWEDEN: Biggest threats to academic freedom are political – Report
Jan Petter Myklebust, University World News, 5/23
Over half of higher education academics surveyed in an investigation conducted by the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) recently indicated that they believed that academic freedom is under strain, with the most frequently identified challenge to academic freedom being political governance and research funding.

EUROPE/ISRAEL: Academic boycotts over Gaza war jeopardises Israel’s place in Horizon Europe
David Matthews, Science|Business, 5/23
A growing number of European universities are ending their ties with Israel over the war in Gaza, including in existing Horizon Europe projects, prompting Israel’s science minister to hold emergency talks with the country’s research leaders over how to retain scientific links with Europe.

GLOBAL: Harassment of scientists is surging — institutions aren’t sure how to help
Bianca Nogrady, Nature, 5/21
As researchers increasingly face many kinds of attack over their work, there is debate about how to support and protect them.

AMERICAS: Academic freedom and peaceful protest on university grounds
Coalition for Academic Freedom in the Americas (CAFA), 5/21
Read CAFA’s statement calling on states and on higher-education authorities to protect and promote academic freedom and institutional autonomy across the Americas amidst widespread demonstrations on campuses.

KYRGYZSTAN: Thousands flee as foreign students come under mob attack
Ameen Amjad Khan and Shuriah Niazi, University World News, 5/21
Thousands of Pakistani students, some of them with injuries, have been evacuated from Kyrgyzstan in the wake of violent mob attacks that have mainly targeted international medical students in the country’s capital city Bishkek but have left all foreign students feeling insecure.

JAPAN: Gaza war sparks unprecedented, sustained campus protests
Suvendrini Kakuchi, University World News, 5/21
Hundreds of Japanese students have been liaising via social media across the country’s leading universities in a campaign on their campuses for a halt to Israel’s escalating war in Gaza and the liberation of Palestine from Israeli occupation.

PALESTINE: Scholars and students fight to keep Palestinian education alive
Zahra Khan, Times Higher Education, 5/17
Two hundred days into the invasion of Gaza by Israel and not a single university is left standing. At least 95 university professors and 5,000 students are reported to have been killed, while more than 500,000 children have been out of school for over seven months.

CANADA: Scholar finds refuge and voice at University of Windsor
Christopher Waters, University of Windsor Daily News, 5/13
It was a long journey for one scholar to return to a university lecture hall — from facing persecution for speaking out against his government to delivering food upon seeking refuge in Canada.

CHINA/JAPAN: Scholar’s jailing for spying set to dampen bilateral ties
Suvendrini Kakuchi, University World News, 5/16
Beijing has slapped a six-year prison sentence for spying on a former Chinese professor from Hokkaido University of Education in Japan, according to press agency reports this week. Academics in Japan, who maintain there is no evidence for the espionage charges, say the latest move deals a severe blow to bilateral academic flows.

CHINA: Promote ‘love’ for China, Beijing tells Hong Kong universities
Helen Packer, Times Higher Education, 5/14
Hong Kong’s universities must focus on contributing to national development and promoting patriotism towards China, a Beijing official has told universities.

CHINA/NORTH AMERICA/EUROPE: “On My Campus, I Am Afraid” – China’s Targeting of Overseas Students Stifles Rights
Amnesty International, 5/12
This report seeks to broaden awareness of the impacts of government repression on Chinese international students studying on university campuses across Western Europe and North America. It is based on new research by Amnesty International conducted between June 2023 and April 2024 on the ability of international students from China to freely exercise their human rights on university campuses overseas.

TURKEY: Turkish universities become new recruitment grounds for intelligence as surveillance concerns mount
MedyaNews, 5/11
The Turkish National Intelligence Organisation’s (MİT) recruitment drive at universities such as Boğaziçi has sparked fears of increased surveillance and the politicization of educational settings, threatening the independence and trust within academic circles.

INDIA: Amid election, vice-chancellors become party-political issue
Shuriah Niazi, University World News, 5/10
As India’s six-week long national elections reach the halfway mark, the appointment of university vice-chancellors has become a source of party-political controversy after a senior leader of the main opposition party claimed that vice-chancellors were selected on the basis of their affiliation with Hindu organisations rather than merit.

UNITED STATES: Nearly all Gaza campus protests in the US have been peaceful, study finds
Lois Beckett, The Guardian, 5/10
An independent non-profit that tracks political violence and political protests around the world found that 97% of campus demonstrations over the war in Gaza that have taken place in the US since mid-April have been peaceful.

UNITED STATES: The Anatomy of a University’s Encampment Negotiation
Erin Gretzinger and Maggie Hicks, Chronicle of Higher Education, 5/10
UW-Madison is one of more than 90 campuses where students have set up encampments, refusing to leave until their institutions agree to cut all financial ties with companies that have aided Israel and its military. Most colleges have ignored student demands or responded with mass arrests and disciplinary proceedings. Others have taken a more diplomatic approach, entering tedious negotiations that have often stalled out.

NAMIBIA: Ban on political activities on campus angers students
Zachariah Mushawatu, University World News, 5/8
The Namibia National Students Organisation (NANSO) has come out strongly against an internal memorandum issued earlier in May by the University of Namibia’s (UNAM) Pro-Vice Chancellor for Finance, Administration and Resource Mobilisation, Ellen Namhila, to the effect that political activities are now banned on campus.

ASIA: Asian students swell ranks of ‘global’ anti-war protesters
Shuriah Niazi, Ameen Amjad Khan and Mohiuddin Alamgir, University World News, 5/9
Pro-Palestine student protests – in many cases inspired by university protests in the US – have emerged in recent weeks on university campuses and in the streets of cities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, as well as other Asian countries.

RUSSIA: To please Putin, universities purge liberals and embrace patriots
Mary Ilyushina, Washington Post, 5/7
Russian university leaders are imbuing the country’s education system with patriotism to favor Putin, quashing Western influences and dissent.

EUROPE: Clashes and arrests as pro-Palestinian protests spread across European campuses
Ashifa Kassam, The Guardian, 5/7
Student protests demanding that universities sever ties with Israel over the Gaza war have spread across Europe, sparking clashes and arrests as new demonstrations broke out in the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria.

UNITED KINGDOM: Digital surveillance of scholars ‘eroding academic freedom’
Jack Grove, Times Higher Education, 5/7
Tracking teaching, grades and research productivity with electronic systems is affecting staff independence and well-being, union-backed survey finds.

AUSTRALIA: Australian encampments mimic US precursors but not in pugnacity
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 5/7
Pro-Palestinian encampments at Australian universities have remained all but free of the violence marring the US camps that inspired them, despite demands for US-style crackdowns.

UNITED STATES: The US universities that allow protest encampments – and even negotiate
Gabrielle Canon, The Guardian, 5/4
While semesters at other schools speed toward a violent close, several universities have sought a more amicable solution.

FRANCE: ‘We’re infantilised or demonised’: French students criticise Gaza protests crackdown
Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian, 5/3
University students air frustration that sit-ins motivated by peace are being shut down instead of heeded.

UNITED STATES: Will Academic Freedom and Campus Free Speech Survive?
Ryan Quinn, Inside Higher Education, 5/3
Faculty and free expression groups are sounding alarms about threatened limitations and crackdowns on professors’ speech and student protests.

MIDDLE EAST: MENA universities join global protests over war in Gaza
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 5/3
Students and academic communities at universities and higher education institutions located in Middle East and North African (MENA) countries including Lebanon, Jordan, Yemen, Iran, Kuwait, Mauritania, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco have organised protests to demand an end to the Israeli military operation and rising death toll in Gaza while acknowledging the efforts of student protesters around the world.

UNITED STATES: For international students, protesting on campuses has higher stakes
Maham Javaid, Washington Post, 5/3
Students studying in the United States run the risk of visas being revoked, and potentially being forced to leave the country, if they’re suspended.

UNITED STATES: How best should US universities respond to campus protests?
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 5/2
Tough decade-old experience with police violence taught California universities the value of restraint, though divisive politics may already be straining its ability to keep its ideals.

GERMANY/CHINA: Chinese scientific espionage in Germany: what next?
Markus Weisskopf, Science|Business, 5/2
The research minister is calling for a review of university collaborations with China. Science organizations point to a lack of regulations and warn over potential red line.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: No degree and little hope for protesting students behind bars
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 5/2
Student leaders protesting their university’s failure to accredit their degrees find themselves in Papua New Guinea jail, after ‘opportunist’ torches vehicles.

AFGHANISTAN: Female academics turn to domestic work to avoid starvation
Manija Mirzaie, University World News, 5/1
While the impact on students of the closure of girls’ schools and the barring of women from Afghanistan’s universities has been well documented, little attention has been paid to the female academic staff who lost their jobs and status in society due to gender discrimination.

NEW ZEALAND: University postpones free speech event, over free speech concerns
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 5/1
The postponement of a panel discussion about free speech has illustrated the challenge confronting New Zealand universities, whose funding may be withdrawn over perceived failures on the issue.

UNITED STATES: How some faculty members are defending student protesters, in actions and in words
Rachel Treisman, NPR, 5/1
Sarah Phillips was on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington for meetings Saturday when she saw social media posts calling for help protecting students’ free speech rights. When Phillips, an anthropology professor at IU, arrived at the site of the campus protest she recognized some of her students, “completely peaceful,” standing face-to-face with what she described as heavily armed riot police. Reflexively, she started walking toward them.

FRANCE: Paris regional leader suspends Sciences Po funding over Gaza protests
Agence France-Presse/The Guardian, 4/30
The Paris regional authority has temporarily suspending funding for Sciences Po, one of France’s most prestigious universities, after it was rocked by pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

IRAN: Female students living in fear under new hijab crackdown
Shafigeh Shirazi and Yojana Sharma, University World News, 4/30
Female students in Iran are reporting feelings of fear and apprehension when entering university campuses after the regime in Tehran began a new crackdown to enforce the wearing of the hijab or head covering, reportedly deploying more than 32 agencies to enforce it and sometimes inflicting beatings upon those who do not comply.

UNITED STATES: Abrupt Changes to Protest Policies Raise Alarm
Liam Knox, Inside Higher Education, 4/30
Indiana University changed a 55-year-old policy on student assembly hours before protesters set up an encampment. Free speech advocates are worried.

RUSSIA/UNITED STATES: Winning a Fulbright Was a High Honor for Russians. Now It Could Jeopardize Scholars Who Go Home.
Karin Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/29
For scholars from around the world, a Fulbright award is an academic triumph, a chance to study and live in the United States. But for Russian participants in the flagship U.S. exchange program, that achievement may have soured. Top Russian officials have called alumni of Fulbright and other American exchange programs potential spies and agents of foreign influence.

UNITED STATES: College protesters want ‘amnesty.’ At stake: Tuition, legal charges, grades and graduation
Jocelyn Gecker, Associated Press, 4/28
Maryam Alwan figured the worst was over after New York City police in riot gear arrested her and other protesters on the Columbia University campus, loaded them onto buses and held them in custody for hours. But the next evening, the college junior received an email from the university. Alwan and other students were being suspended after their arrests at the “ Gaza Solidarity Encampment,” a tactic colleges across the country have deployed to calm growing campus protests against the Israel-Hamas war.

AUSTRALIA: Australian university governance a ‘circular system of patronage’
John Ross, Times Higher Education, 4/26
The co-opting of corporate heavyweights onto university governing councils constitutes a “circular system of patronage” that perpetuates the underpayment of staff and the overpayment of bosses, according to Australia’s academic union.

UNITED KINGDOM: Security vetting plan for researchers of sensitive technologies
Chris Havergal, Times Higher Education, 4/26
Academics with access to sensitive research in UK universities could be required to undergo security vetting, ministers have said.

UNITED STATES: Why Are Students Camping on University Lawns?
Johanna Alonso, Inside Higher Education, 4/24
Since Columbia University shut down an encampment last week where pro-Palestinian protesters were demonstrating for divestment from companies with ties to Israel, students on other campuses have set up their own encampments, making similar demands.

ARGENTINA: Argentina’s students take to streets in protest against Javier Milei’s austerity plan
Isabel Debre, The Independent, 4/24
Milei is slashing spending across the country in his drive to reach zero deficit, leaving even elite universities struggling to keep lights on.

ITALY: Academic prosecuted for calling minister’s speech ‘neo-Hitlerite’
Emily Dixon, Times Higher Education, 4/23
An Italian academic is facing criminal defamation charges after describing a government minister’s espousal of a white supremacist conspiracy as “neo-Hitlerite”.

NIGERIA: University closed after bandits kill 15, including a student
Afeez Bolaji, University World News, 4/22
The Plateau State University in Bokkos in the northern part of central Nigeria has been temporarily closed following a bandit attack on communities around the institution during which a second-year computer science student, Dading James Jordan, was killed.

UNITED STATES: The Review: The antisemitism hearing forgot about academic freedom [opinion]
Len Gutkin, Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/22
“I don’t think that phrase was used even once,” is how the retired Columbia University Sanskritist Sheldon Pollack put it. The phrase was “academic freedom”; the event was Wednesday’s congressional hearing on campus antisemitism, the second since December, this time with Columbia’s president Nemat (Minouche) Shafik in the hot seat. The failure of Shafik or any of the other witnesses — David Greenwald and Claire Shipman, co-chairs of Columbia’s Board of Trustees, and David Schizer, a Columbia law professor and co-chair of the university’s antisemitism task force — to name the concept that was at the very heart of the hearing surely had something to do with the watery imprecision of the whole conversation.

UNITED STATES: Louisiana’s flagship university lets oil firms influence research – for a price
Sara Sneath, The Guardian, 4/21
For $5m, Louisiana’s flagship university will let an oil company weigh in on faculty research activities. Or, for $100,000, a corporation can participate in a research study, with “robust” reviewing powers and access to all resulting intellectual property.

UNITED STATES/CHINA: FBI ‘did not intend negative impact’ of prosecuting Chinese academics with ties to Beijing under Trump-era China Initiative
Mark Magnier, South China Morning Post, 4/20
The FBI did not intend the “negative impact” that the China Initiative had on the Asian-American community and is willing to learn, said an official from the agency on Friday, addressing members of the Committee of 100, a Chinese-American civic group.

UNITED STATES: Advocacy Day at Muhlenberg
Shinam Hussain, The Muhlenberg Weekly, 4/18
On April 15, members of the student body of the College participated in Advocacy Day. Students currently in their RJ Fellows Senior Seminar and students part of the course Rights, Refugee and Resettlement: Scholars at Risk Seminar spent the semester researching a respective scholar that the non-governmental organization, Scholars at Risk (SAR), had been advocating for. Start a seminar.

NEPAL: Political influence in universities ‘threat’ to Nepal’s democracy
Helen Packer, Times Higher Education, 4/18
A delay in appointing senior leadership at Nepal’s largest university has reignited concerns about political influence over recruitment at the country’s institutions.

UNITED STATES: At Heated Congressional Hearing, Lawmakers Scrutinize Columbia U.’s Response to Campus Antisemitism
Maggie Hicks, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/18
Congressional leaders berated Columbia University’s president during a three-and-a-half-hour hearing over how her administration has responded to allegations of rampant antisemitism on campus since the start of the Israel-Hamas war.

AFGHANISTAN/CANADA: Latitudes: The Taliban cut off access to education. A new partnership wants to change that.
Karin Fischer, Chronicle of Higher Education, 4/17
The Taliban has limited access to education for Afghan women and teenage girls. But Arizona State University and a Canadian nonprofit have teamed up to provide online English-language courses to 2,000 students.

UNITED STATES: Punishments Rise as Student Protests Escalate
Kathryn Palmer, Inside Higher Ed, 4/15
Six months after the Israel-Hamas war set off a new wave of campus activism in the United States, students are still protesting in full force. And at some institutions administrators are responding to student demonstrators—especially supporters of Palestinians—with increasingly harsh discipline.

UNITED STATES/CHINA: Far fewer young Americans now want to study in China. Both countries are trying to fix that
Didi Tang and Dake Kang, Associated Press, 4/13
Stephen Garrett, a 27-year-old graduate student, always thought he would study in China, but the country’s restrictive COVID-19 policies made it nearly impossible and now he sees interest among fellow scholars wane even after China reopened. Common concerns, he said, include restrictions on academic freedom and the risk of being stranded in China.

BANGLADESH: Bangladeshi students urge end to violent campus politics
Helen Packer, Times Higher Education, 4/12
Students at a Bangladeshi university campaigning to keep political groups off campus are unlikely to succeed, academics warned, as the government continues to rely on its student arm to keep dissidents in check, despite the resulting violence.

YEMEN: Education offers a path out of the ruin of war – Report
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 4/11
After nine years of war between the Yemeni government and the Houthis movement, immediate policy interventions are needed to stabilise the country’s higher education system before it reaches the point of no return, according to a recent study.

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.

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.