On December 22, 2017, a group of students reportedly attacked members of National Pedagogical Dragomanov University’s gender club.
The gender club suffered threats of a similar attack during its first meeting on October 26, 2017, when right-wing students allegedly threatened to use force if the club was not shut down (see report). According to club members, on December 22, several of the alleged perpetrators of the previous attack came to another of the club’s meetings and made similar threats, this time using tear gas against the club members. At least one of the students suffered chemical burns.
According to the students, police officials declined their request to register the incident and open an investigation into the suspects. Additional sources indicate that university officials have spoken with the suspects about the incident; however, it is unclear what disciplinary actions, if any, will be taken.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence used in retaliation for students’ 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.