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: December 04, 2021

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Arab American University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Palestine (OPT)

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On December 4, 2021, students of opposing groups violently clashed at the entrance of Arab American University (AAU), resulting in the death of one student.

The two groups were reportedly affiliated with two different factions of the Fatah political party. It is unclear what sparked the violence. During the clashes, Mahran Khaliliyeh, a nursing student, was reportedly stabbed to death; three other students reportedly sustained injuries.

AAU evacuated its campus and closed academic activity indefinitely in response to the violence.

Scholars at Risk is gravely concerned about lethal, on-campus clashes between student groups. SAR offers condolences to the student’s family, friends, and classmates. State and university authorities should take reasonable measures to prevent and respond to violence on campus, including by investigating those responsible and promoting open, peaceful dialogue. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, violent clashes on campus undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.