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: January 16, 2020

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Alioune Diop University, Bambey

Region & Country:Western Africa | Senegal

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 15, 2020, police reportedly clashed violently with student protesters at Alioune Diop University in Bambey (UADB), Senegal.

Students at UADB had reportedly been frustrated by the university’s unreliable internet connection and an insufficient number of lecture halls and dining facilities to accommodate a growing student population. Students had reportedly announced a 72-hour strike on January 13.

On the morning of January 15, students gathered on campus to hold a protest to voice these concerns. According to one report, police entered campus to disperse the crowd. Although it is unclear what occurred next, reports indicate that clashes broke out between police and students, with the police throwing tear gas canisters at students, and students throwing stones at police. Several police officers and students were reportedly injured.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence in connection with a campus protest. While state authorities have a responsibility to maintain order and security, they must ensure that their actions are proportionate to the situation, do not endanger members of the higher education community, and are not undertaken to restrict or retaliate against student expression.e. Likewise, while students have the right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they have a responsibility to refrain from physical violence. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violence on campus undermines academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.