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 18, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Region & Country:Americas | United States of America

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 18, 2022, a protester on the campus of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign engaged in violence at a protest outside a Jewish center on campus, throwing a rock at a group of students gathered there.

A protest led by the group Students for Justice in Palestine had gathered on campus, and marched to various university locations including a campus auditorium, the school’s diversity, equity and inclusion office, and the school’s Hillel – a center for Jewish life on campus. In front of Hillel, about 75 protesters reportedly began making speeches using bullhorns; a group of students had gathered on a patio at the Hillel. A 23-year-old student protester was seen on video throwing a rock at the group of students on the Hillel patio, and was later identified and charged with a hate crime. 

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence on campus. While students have the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they must exercise those rights peacefully and responsibly. Violence on campus, including violence motivated by bias, undermines academic freedom and core university values, and democratic society generally.