Kampala International University in Tanzania has suspended 13 students for allegedly organizing a series of student protests that began in October 2012.
According to reports, student strikes and class boycotts called for fair and equal treatment of students and faculty. Among the specific concerns raised were high tuition fees, the firing of more than 30 lecturers, delayed payment of teacher salaries, and the university’s requirement that all students attend graduation ceremonies in Uganda.
The university has since announced that it will increase its conflict resolution efforts, specifically pledging to engage students more actively in decision-making processes on campus.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the dismissal of students in apparent retaliation for the peaceful exercise of protected rights including freedom of expression and association. State and university authorities have a responsibility not to interfere with academic freedom or expressive activity, so long as that activity is undertaken peacefully and responsibly. Dismissal aimed at limiting such expressive activity harms academic freedom and related higher education values including autonomy and social responsibility.