Academic Freedom Media Review

April 1 – 7, 2022

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.

Unless otherwise indicated (such as in articles written by SAR), the language and views contained in the reports below reflect those of the originating author and/or publication and do not necessarily represent the views of Scholars at Risk or its members, affiliates, board or staff. Subscribe to SAR’s media review.

EGYPT: Researcher Patrick Zaki’s trial postponed amid legal challenges to constitutionality of ongoing emergency trials
Mada Masr, 4/6
An Egyptian emergency court adjourned the trial of scholar Patrick George Zaki, postponing it to June 21. Zaki, a Master’s student at the University of Bologna in Italy, has been detained in Egypt since February 2020 on false news charges in relation to an article he wrote. Read more.

UKRAINE-EUROPE: Academics appeal for long-term help to rebuild HE system
Nic Mitchell, University World News, 4/5
A webinar, hosted by the European Association for International Education, featured Ukrainian academics who discussed their fears that Russia’s war against Ukraine will cause a long-lasting brain drain. Academics called on their European colleagues to continue supporting them amid the war, but also in the long-term reconstruction of Ukraine’s universities and research facilities. Read more.

ISRAEL / PALESTINE (OPT): Letter protesting new Israel Government directive regarding selection of international scholars and students to teach and study in Palestinian Universities
Committee on Academic Freedom, Middle East Studies Association, 4/5
The Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association issued a letter to Israeli government officials protesting a recent policy that gives the Israeli military unilateral power to select and exclude international academic researchers and students who wish to teach, study, and conduct research at Palestinian universities. Read more.

INDIA: Saibaba pens book from prison
Sonam Saigal, The Hindu, 4/4
Professor G.N. Saibaba, an imprisoned scholar in India who remains wheelchair-bound and 90% physically disabled, wrote a book of poems from solitary confinement about his hope for freedom and his love for teaching and writing letters. Read more.

UNITED STATES: Florida fears brain drain as political interference mounts
Paul Basken, Times Higher Education, 4/4
Florida’s legislative and political interference in public higher education in the state, including barring faculty from countering the state in courtroom testimony, restricting campus leadership, lessening tenure protections, and reducing funding for the teaching of certain subject areas, risks scaring away some of the best scholars and millions of dollars in research grants. Read more.

UKRAINE: Scholars scattered by Ukraine war turn to virtual universities
Ben Upton, Times Higher Education, 4/2
Virtual universities founded before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are offering an alternative to in-person learning to the thousands of Ukrainian students and academics who have been displaced amid the conflict. Read more.

AFGHANISTAN: Fearful American University students go into hiding
Shadi Khan Saif, University World News, 4/2
Students at the American University of Afghanistan (AUAF) told University World News that they have remained in hiding in the months following the suspension of studies at the university following the country’s takeover by the Taliban. The university had promised relocation of the AUAF campus to Qatar, but this process has since been stalled. Read more.

RUSSIA / UKRAINE: The war in Ukraine ruins Russia’s academic ties with the West
Arik Burakovsky, The Conversation, 4/1
Arik Burakovsky, Assistant Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at Tufts University, discusses the future of higher education cooperation between Russia and the West following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Read more.

SUDAN: Military leader replaces 30 public university presidents
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 4/1
Sudan’s military leader, Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, announced the replacement of the presidents of 30 public universities and the dissolving of their councils. Eight new vice-presidents were also appointed. Read more.

GERMANY / UKRAINE: Germany to host 100,000 Ukrainian academics and students
Michael Gardner, University World News, 4/1
Joybrato Mukherjee, president of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), announced Germany expects to host a considerable number – at least 100,000 – of Ukrainian students and academics that are expected to come to German universities. Read more.

CHINA: Free Uyghur Scholar’s Students
Human Rights Watch, 3/31
A leaked Chinese government list of prisoners indicates that six of Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti’s seven students (who were detained with Tohti in January of 2014) were sentenced in December 2014 to between three-and-a-half and eight years in prison. It is unclear whether they have been released. Read more.