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: April 23, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Universidade Paulista

Region & Country:Americas | Brazil

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 23, 2021, an improvised explosive device was discovered in a bathroom on Universidade Paulista’s (UNIP) campus, forcing students and faculty to evacuate.

At around 2:00 PM on April 23, a university employee found the device inside a men’s bathroom on the UNIP campus. According to a university statement, as reported by Metrópoles, the device was found shortly before students were scheduled to take a physiotherapy exam in the same building. The university believes the device was placed in that location in order to cause “turmoil” for the students taking the exam.

Upon discovery of the device, faculty and students were evacuated and moved to a different location on campus. The Military Police (BOPE) isolated the area and examined the object, which was found to have an amount of gunpowder similar to explosive devices used to detonate ATMs. Police forces neutralized and detonated the bomb. Police have opened an investigation into the origins of the device and the motivation(s) behind the act.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about an attempted attack on a higher education institution. In addition to their potential immediate harm to members of the campus community, such acts undermine university autonomy, the right to education, and academic freedom by reducing the degree to which the campus is an open, free space. State authorities have a responsibility to protect higher education communities and to hold perpetrators of violent attacks accountable.