On January 15, 2018, police reportedly arrested about two dozen teachers from the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) who were engaged in a peaceful, on campus protest.
The teachers had gathered to demonstrate against efforts to reinstate the university’s former vice-chancellor, who had been removed from office and had his PhD thesis cancelled after being found guilty of plagiarism. Local police reportedly took them into custody briefly, and released them on the same day. It was unclear whether any charges were filed against any of the protesters.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about detention or other law enforcement actions taken against nonviolent, on-campus protesters. State and university authorities have a responsibility not to interfere with the rights to free expression and assembly, so long as they are exercised peacefully and responsibly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such incidents have a chilling effect on academic freedom and university autonomy, and undermine democratic society generally.