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: February 05, 2014

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Maseno University

Region & Country:Eastern Africa | Kenya

New or Ongoing:New Incident

Private security guards clashed with student and staff on the campus of Maseno University on February 5, 2014, during demonstrations over Vice Chancellor Dominic Makawiti’s alleged failure to sign a collective bargaining agreement, despite his prior agreement to do so. 
Students and members of Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU) demonstrated against the Vice Chancellor’s delay in signing the agreement, eventually surrounding his office, in an alleged attempt to raise their grievances with the administration.  They were then reportedly attacked by 12 private individuals the Vice Chancellor had reportedly hired provide for his security.  The incident left two of the 12 attackers seriously injured.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about allegations of violence on campus. State and university authorities have a responsibility to protect students and staff members engaged in peaceful demonstrations, and to ensure the perpetrators of violent attacks are held accountable. When state and university authorities are required to intervene in protests to maintain order or security, they have a responsibility to do so in a manner that respects institutional autonomy, academic freedom and human rights, including freedom of expression and assembly.  While students and other members of higher education communities have the right to engage in expressive activity, they have a responsibility to exercise that right peacefully and in a manner consistent with the values of the university space, including social responsibility.