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.

Date of Incident: November 05, 2013

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Nyahururu Laikipia University

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Kenya

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 3, 2013, Mutuma Kinyua, a third year student was shot and killed during protests near the campus of Laikipia University.
The protests began after another student was killed by a speeding police car on a road near Laikipia University. Protesters stopped traffic, set the police car involved in the accident on fire, and threw stones at police. Police responded by launching tear gas canisters at the students, and allegedly by firing live ammunition, killing Kinyua, who was visiting from Chuka University in Meru, Kenya, where he was a third year student.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about on-campus violence and the apparent use of disproportionate force by police against students. While students have the right to free expression, that right does not extend to violence or the destruction of property; expression must be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with university values including social responsibility. Student violence against persons or property 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 or near-campus unrest unnecessarily increases risks of physical harm to individuals and undermines academic freedom and institutional autonomy.