On September 23, 2014, three armed men broke into the campus of the Universidad Valle de México in the city of Reynosa, where they reportedly confronted the university’s director and demanded “fees” or “quotas” from the university, threatening violence if the university failed to comply. The men were reportedly believed to be members of the Gulf Cartel.
The next day, in response to the threat, the director made the decision to suspend classes and other operations for three days, stating that the suspension was to “protect the physical integrity of the campus community.” The suspension was later extended to six days.
Federal, state and municipal government entities indicated their commitment to providing the security necessary to reopen the university, and military forces were stationed at the campus entrances to guard it. Federal police detained three men in connection with the incident.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about threats of physical violence against university staff, faculty and students. Such threats not only impact the immediate victims, but undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy and the ability of higher education communities to serve their educational, research and social functions, harming all members of these communities and society generally.