On November 19, 2015, Konin Wilfried, a master’s student of economics at University Felix Houphouet-Boigny, was reportedly stabbed to death by students of a rival student union during an on-campus altercation over the allocation of university housing. Six students were reportedly injured in the fight. Wilfried’s death marked the second day of violent clashes between two student unions, the General Association of Students of Cote d’Ivoire (AGEECI) and the Federation of Students of Cote d’Ivoire (FESCI), of which Wilfried was allegedly a member. Members of AGEECI had reportedly clashed with members of FESCI at a local bus station on November 18, in a dispute over student control of the station.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence on university campuses. While students have the right to free expression, that right does not extend to violence — on-campus expression must be undertaken in a manner that is consistent with university values including social responsibility. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, student violence undermines academic freedom and institutional autonomy. State and university authorities have a responsibility to ensure the security of the university space from intimidation and violence, to prevent future attacks, and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.