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.

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Date of Incident: March 31, 2020

Region & Country:Americas | United States of America

Institution(s):Loyola University Chicago

On March 31, 2020, unidentified individuals reportedly interrupted a Loyola University Chicago online lecture by shouting racial slurs, posting racist messages and pornographic images. Starting in early March, 2020, higher education institutions across the US suspended in-person classes and campus activities, ...

Attack Types: Other

Date of Incident: March 31, 2020

Region & Country:Americas | United States of America

Institution(s):University of Florida

On March 31, 2020, unidentified individuals reportedly interrupted an online Student Government meeting at the University of Florida (UF) by writing racist comments and showing pornographic images. Starting in early March 2020, higher education institutions across the US suspended in-person classes ...

Attack Types: Other

Date of Incident: March 30, 2020

Region & Country:Americas | United States of America

Institution(s):University of Texas at Austin

On March 30, 2020, unidentified individuals reportedly interrupted an online meeting for a campus organization at the University of Texas at Austin by shouting racial slurs. Starting in early March, 2020, higher education institutions across the US suspended in-person classes and ...

Attack Types: Other

Date of Incident: March 27, 2020

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Bangladesh

Institution(s):Barisal Government Women's College | Gafargaon Government College

On March 27, 2020, the Ministry of Secondary and Higher Education announced the suspension of two academics for their social media posts about a pandemic of a novel coronavirus known as COVID-19. First detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019, COVID-19 ...

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Date of Incident: March 26, 2020

Region & Country:Americas | United States of America

Institution(s):California State University, Long Beach

On March 26, 2020, an unidentified individual reportedly interrupted a California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) graduate student’s online thesis defense by posting racist messages and pornographic images on the Zoom conference he was using to communicate with the committee ...

Attack Types: Other

Date of Incident: March 23, 2020

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Afghanistan

Institution(s):Paktia University

On March 23, 2020, an explosive device was detonated outside the gates of Paktia University, in Eastern Afghanistan, killing a police officer and injuring a civilian. Few details about the attack have been announced. Available sources indicate that the device was ...

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Date of Incident: March 21, 2020

Region & Country:Europe | Russia

Institution(s):Moscow State University

On March 21, 2020, police reportedly detained Mikhail Lobanov, a professor in the Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics at Moscow State University (MSU), for holding a peaceful demonstration on campus. Lobanov held a “one-person picket” in front of one of MSU’s ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Date of Incident: March 18, 2020

Region & Country:Northern Africa | Egypt

Institution(s):American University of Cairo | University of Cairo | University of Lancaster

On March 18, 2020, authorities reportedly arrested a group of four intellectuals and activists for their peaceful protest calling for the release of prisoners amid fears of the coronavirus disease known as Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). First detected in Wuhan, China ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment | Prosecution

Date of Incident: March 14, 2020

Region & Country:Southern Asia | India

Institution(s):Aligarh Muslim University

On March 14, 2020, police reportedly arrested dozens of students participating in a vigil at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). Since December 2019, students at universities across the country have held protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The legislation expedites ...

Attack Types: Imprisonment

Date of Incident: March 11, 2020

Region & Country:Southern Africa | South Africa

Institution(s):University of KwaZulu-Natal

On March 11, 2020, individuals allegedly set fire to a building at the University of KwaZulu-Natal amidst protests over student fees. Beginning on January 27, 2020, students from a number of South African universities have held protests to demand increased student ...

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances