On March 29, 2022, Sudan’s military-led government announced that it was dismissing all university boards and replacing 30 public university presidents and 8 vice presidents.
The decision impacts leadership at the majority of Sudan’s 38 public universities and, according to Reuters, affects officials that were appointed by the civilian-led government prior to the coup last fall. Speaking with Bloomberg, Waleed Ali Ahmed, a council member of the Sudanese Professionals Association, stated that the officials were “removed and replaced by others who are loyal to the Islamic movement.” Higher education organizations across Sudan condemned the move as a silencing tactic and called it “illegal.” Bloomberg reported that senior-level officials in the Ministry of Higher Education and General Education were also dismissed.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the mass dismissal of university leadership and government appointment of university officials, apparently due to political and/or ideological considerations rather than academic ones. State authorities have an obligation to refrain from taking action to punish or restrict academic activity and to protect the independence of higher education institutions. Mass dismissals and government appointment of university leadership undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.