On February 26, 2013, two students of the Institut Supérieur de Développement Rural in Lubao were killed, and another five injured, by police gunfire during a student protest. The students were allegedly protesting public comments made by a local government official, criticizing students who chose not to participate in weekly community service. The protests turned violent, with students reportedly throwing stones at police and burning down buildings, and with police responding with live ammunition.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence on university campuses. While students have the right to free expression, that right does not extend to violence or the destruction of property; on-campus expression must be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with university values including social responsibility. Student violence against persons or property also creates unnecessary risks of physical harm to individuals and undermines academic freedom and institutional autonomy. State and university authorities, while they have a legitimate interest in maintaining order and protecting property, must do so in ways that are proportional to the situation, that respect peaceful expression, and that minimize the risk of physical injury. Use of excessive force in response to campus unrest unnecessarily increases risks of physical harm to individuals and undermines academic freedom and institutional autonomy.