On April 18, 2022, it was reported that Belarusian State University (BSU) informed Aliaksandr Danilevich, an associate professor of international relations, that his contract would not be renewed, in apparent retaliation for his nonviolent expressive activity.
Danilevich, who had taught at BSU for 20 years, is also a lawyer. In March, Danilevich signed an appeal of Belarusian lawyers and jurists calling for an end to the war in Ukraine. After signing the appeal, BSU administrators reprimanded Danilevich, informing him that faculty are not permitted to engage in so-called political agitation. Danilevich refused to remove his signature from the appeal.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the arbitrary non-renewal of a scholar’s contract, apparently based on political or ideological considerations. Higher education institutions should respect and safeguard academic freedom and institutional autonomy, including by refraining from engaging in disciplinary actions based on political or ideological considerations. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, a politically-motivated declination of a scholar’s continued employment undermines academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.