SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.


Attack Types


Date Range


Date of Incident: August 31, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Yemen

Institution(s):Dhamar Community College

On August 31, 2019, an airstrike was carried out on the campus of Dhamar Community College, leaving more than one hundred people dead. The airstrike was conducted by forces led by Saudi Arabia (known as the Saudi-led Coalition or “SLC”) as ...

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Date of Incident: August 28, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

Institution(s):Birzeit University

On August 28, 2019, Israeli military authorities detained and imprisoned Mays Abu Ghosh, a student at Birzeit University, on charges that apparently stem from her membership in a student organization. She has reportedly been subjected to torture and other ill-treatment while in state custody.

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Date of Incident: August 28, 2019

Region & Country:Southern Africa | South Africa

Institution(s):Eastcape Midlands College

On August 28, 2019, violence erupted between student demonstrators, private security guards, and police during a protest on East Midlands College’s Uitenhage campus. A group of about two hundred students reportedly gathered on campus to protest a new university attendance policy ...

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Date of Incident: August 28, 2019

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Sri Lanka

Institution(s):Various Institutions

On August 28, 2019, police reportedly fired water cannons and launched tear gas canisters at student protesters in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Inter University Students’ Federation (IUSF) organized a march protesting legislation being considered in Sri Lankan parliament that they claim ...

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Date of Incident: August 27, 2019

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

Institution(s):Nangarhar University

On August 27, 2019, Nangarhar University professor Massoud Nekbakht was killed and three colleagues were injured in an apparently targeted attack on their vehicle. Reports indicate that their vehicle was rigged with a magnetically attached explosive device. At the time of ...

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Date of Incident: August 26, 2019

Region & Country:Western Asia | Syria

Institution(s):Qalamoun University

On August 26, 2019, authorities reportedly detained Dr. Rakan Al-Safadi, a Syrian scholar of literature at Qalamoun University, and transferred him to an undisclosed location. In addition to his work as a scholar, Al-Safadi is a prominent poet and writer who ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Date of Incident: August 26, 2019

Region & Country:Eastern Asia | China

Institution(s):Unirule Institute of Economics

On August 26, 2019, it was reported that the Unirule Institute of Economics would shut down pursuant to a government order. Unirule was an independent think tank founded in 1993 by a group of economists, dedicated to the open exchange of ...

Attack Types: Other

Date of Incident: August 25, 2019

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

Institution(s):Delhi University

On August 25, unidentified individuals beat several student activists in a neighborhood bordering Delhi University. Members of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), a student organization affiliated with the Communist Party of India, were reportedly putting up posters in the Vijay ...

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Date of Incident: August 23, 2019

Region & Country:Americas | United States of America

Institution(s):Harvard University

On August 23, 2019, US officials denied entry to Ismail B. Ajjawi, an incoming student at Harvard University, allegedly based on his friends’ social media activity. He was later granted entry to the US on September 2, 2019. Ajjawi is a ...

Attack Types: Travel Restrictions

Date of Incident: August 22, 2019

Region & Country:Americas | Ecuador

Institution(s):University of Guayaquil

On August 22, 2019, a bomb exploded in the rector’s building at the University of Guayaquil, causing damage to campus property, and leading to the evacuation of the campus by students.

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances