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: January 15, 2015

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):Nuevo Laredo | Universidad del Valle

Region & Country:Americas | Mexico

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 15, 2015, the Universidad del Valle announced that it would close its campus in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, indefinitely as a result of reported threats of violence and extortion by an area gang. The campus, located in the state of Tamaulipas, near the border with Texas, has approximately 700 students enrolled.  Other universities in Tamaulipas have experienced similar threats recently, with Universidad del Valle’s Reynosa campus closing down temporarily in September 2014. The violence in the border state is reportedly a result of territorial disputes between two gangs, the Cártel del Golfo and Los Zetas.
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.  States have a responsibility to protect higher education communities from such threats, including where necessary dedicating additional resources to ensure security, in a fashion consistent with academic freedom and institutional autonomy.
Update: On February 10, 2015, university officials reportedly announced in a Facebook post that the the Nuevo Laredo campus would be closing permanently, offering students the opportunity to continue their studies on its other campuses, or on-line.