Academic Freedom Media Review

November 12 – 18, 2021

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.

HONG KONG: Changing of guard in Hong Kong leadership ‘may narrow diversity’
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 11/18
Two Hong Kong university presidents, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology president Wei Shyy and City University president Way Kuo, recently announced they would be leaving their respective universities. Scholars fear that a broader change in leadership at Hong Kong universities could lead to a narrowing of diversity in academia. Read more.

UNITED STATES: U. of Florida Dean Says He Was Directed to Reject Professor’s Request to Testify Against the State
Emma Pettit, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/16
The University of Florida College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean David E. Richardson, who rejected a faculty person’s request to offer testimony in a voting-rights lawsuit against the state, said that his decision was made at the direction of senior administrators. Read more.

SUDAN: University council presidents take stand against coup
Wagdy Sawahel, University World News, 11/15
Professor Hunud Abia Kadouf, the vice-chancellor of the International University of Africa in Khartoum, declined an offer by coup leaders to be appointed as prime minister following the October 25 military coup. Ten presidents of the councils of public Sudanese universities have announced their rejection of the coup. Read more.

SWEDEN / IRAN: Djalali praised for fighting for freedom of research [SWEDISH]
Jesper Cederberg, Läkartidningen, 11/15
Scholars at Risk awarded its annual Courage to Think award to Swedish-Iranian scholar of disaster medicine, Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali. The award is given to individuals, groups, or institutions that show a commitment to protecting scholars and promoting academic freedom, whether through professional work, private or community service, or by facing personal risk. Read more.

PHILIPPINES: Opposition mounts against removal of ‘subversive’ books in libraries
Sherwin De Vera, Rappler, 11/14
Opposition is mounting against the Commission on Higher Education–Cordillera Administrative Region’s recently released memo encouraging higher education institutions to remove “subversive” materials from libraries. University of the Philippines’ Library Council indicated that the university’s libraries would be resisting political interference in the flow of information. Read more.

CAMEROON: Bomb attack on university lecture hall wounds 11
AFP via University World News, 11/13
University of Buea Vice-Chancellor Horace Ngomo Manga announced that a homemade bomb thrown into a university lecture hall wounded 11 students on November 10. The bombing took place in a region of Cameroon in the grip of a bloody separatist conflict. Read more.

UNITED STATES: Openness on American campuses is under threat. Here’s how we preserve it.
Robert Quinn, Driving Discovery Series, Charles Koch Foundation, 11/12
Scholars at Risk’s founding Executive Director Robert Quinn discusses the strain on the openness of American campuses and encourages university and college leaders to emphasize academic freedom and formalize responsibility for promoting it on their campuses. Read more.

THAILAND: Student organisations reject court’s ruling
Aekarach Sattaburuth, Bangkok Post, 11/11
The Student Council of Chulalongkorn University, along with 23 other university student groups, issued a joint statement rejecting the Constitutional Court’s ruling that prominent student activists Panupong Jadnok and Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul were guilty of trying to overthrow the constitutional monarchy. Read more.

ZIMBABWE: Students want a ‘better, freer and more democratic Zimbabwe’
Tonderayi Mukeredzi and Prince Gora, University World News, 11/11
Student members of the Zimbabwe National Students Union, who were recently acquitted after an eight-month trial on charges of disorderly conduct related to student activism, vowed to continue mobilizing for a “better, freer and more democratic Zimbabwe.” Read more.

UNITED KINGDOM / ISRAEL: Israeli ambassador protest: LSE investigating threats against Tzipi Hotovely
BBC, 11/10
The London Institute of Economics has launched an investigation into whether students threatened Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely while she was giving a speech on campus after video clips circulated on social media of protesters chasing the ambassador. Read more.