Academic Freedom Media Review

October 7 – 13, 2017

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.

Free speech at American universities is under threat
The Economist, 10/12
“LIBERALISM is white supremacy!” shouted the students, as their hapless speaker—Claire Gastañaga of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)—looked on. The protesters at the College of William and Mary, the alma mater of Thomas Jefferson, went further still. Read more.

Professor’s ‘bring back colonialism’ call sparks fury and academic freedom debate
Adam Lusher, The Independent, 10/12
A senior academic has provoked storms of protest by calling for the return of colonialism – first from critics of his ideas, then from free speech advocates after his article was withdrawn due to threats of violence against the journal editor who published it. Read more.

Classroom, Interrupted
Colleen Flaherty, Inside Higher Ed, 10/11
As conflicts over campus speech have accelerated in recent months, most of the incidents have occurred outside the classroom. But a recent incident at Columbia University breached that wall. Read more.

European University at St Petersburg faces research-only future
Ellie Bothwell, Times Higher Education, 10/11
Russia’s “European” university is contemplating a future as a research-only institution after the latest twist in a long-running battle with the country’s authorities saw its application for a new teaching licence rejected. Read more.

Wisconsin University Officials Approve Policy Punishing Students for Protesting Campus Speakers
Beatrice Dupuy, Newsweek, 10/10
Wisconsin students who protest speakers on university campuses will now be punished, university officials decided last week in a move that is being praised by conservatives after several right-wing personalities had their scheduled speeches shut down by students on campuses around the nation. Read more.

Houthi militia terminate dozens of academics from Sanaa University
Islam Saif, Al Arabiya, 10/10
Houthi militias are rapidly recruiting new staff and officials at Sanaa University and appointing academic leaders loyal to it, while terminating dozens of academics, employees and assistants as part of its plan to take full control over the educational institutions in Yemen. Read more.

In China, Scholars Are Being Punished Amid Growing Squeeze On Public Expression
Anthony Kuhn, NPR, 10/10
When students returned to Beijing Normal University for classes last month, there was a notable absence in the classical Chinese class taught by Shi Jiepeng: Shi himself. Read more.

Turkey Now Targeting Academic Freedom in Europe
Uzay Bulut, PJ Media, 10/09
Turkey’s targeting of dissident academics seems to have crossed the borders of the country. Academic freedom in Europe and in the U.S. is being stymied by the Turkish government and nationalist groups. Read more.

Americans Jailed After Failed Coup in Turkey Are Hostages to Politics
Carlotta Gall, New York Times, 10/07
One is a NASA scientist who was vacationing with relatives in Turkey. Another is a Christian missionary who has lived in Turkey for 23 years. Others include a visiting chemistry professor from Pennsylvania and his brother, a real estate agent. Read more.

Muslim students studying abroad detained, repatriated
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 10/05*
Human rights groups are expressing alarm over the fate of hundreds of Chinese students abroad belonging to the Uyghur ethnic minority and other Chinese Muslim students who have fled into hiding, disappeared or been repatriated to China where they have been sent to re-education camps. Read more.

*Not featured in the October 6 edition of the Academic Freedom Media Review.