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 25, 2015

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Los Andes (ULA)

Region & Country:Americas | Venezuela

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 25, 2015, students were reportedly fired upon with buckshot during demonstration on the campus of the University of Los Andes in Merida.  Five of the students were hit and injured – although none of their injuries were reportedly life-threatening.  
The students had gathered in front of the Faculty of Law building to protest the death of Kluiverth Roa, a 14-year-old boy who had been shot and killed during a confrontation between police and protesters in San Cristobal, Venezuela, a few days earlier.  Similar protests, demanding accountability for Roa’s death, occurred elsewhere in Merida and throughout Venezuela on the same day.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence against students and others engaged in the non-violent exercise of protected human rights, including free speech and association.  In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and undermine democratic society generally.  That harm is compounded when such attacks occur on campus, thus undermining institutional autonomy.