On October 26, 2017, students holding a meeting for a so-called gender club at National Pedagogical Dragomanov University, in Kiev, were reportedly threatened by a group of students from the same university.
The gender club (“Гендерний клуб”) is a campus group that convenes students interested in gender- related research, modern issues related to gender in Ukrainian society, and the students’ personal experiences. On October 26, 2017, a group of students wearing black and camouflage clothing arrived at the club’s first meeting and threatened to use force if the club did not shut itself down. Police prevented the students from attacking the club members. While their identities have not been confirmed by the authorities, club members and media sources suggest that the threatening students belong to a right-wing campus group known as “Tradition and Order.”
Scholars at Risk is concerned about threats and intimidation aimed at preventing the peaceful exercise of the rights to academic freedom, freedom of expression, and freedom of association. State and university authorities have a responsibility to protect the exercise of such rights and to investigate and hold perpetrators responsible; students must adhere to university values including nonviolence and social responsibility. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such attacks have a chilling effect on academic freedom and democratic society generally.