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 01, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Universidad del Valle

Region & Country:Americas | Colombia

New or Ongoing:New Incident

In April 2022, several student leaders and human rights activists at the Universidad del Valle (Univalle) began receiving death threats and other threatening messages via text, apparently for their leadership activities and activism. 

Speaking with Caracol Radio, one student who was running for a student representative seat on the University Academic Council stated that he believed the anonymous individuals were threatening to kill him to stop his political activity. A victim also expressed to El País that an anonymous number had threatened both him and his family if they did not leave the university and cease their activism. The affected students have filed complaints with the Prosecutor’s Office, however the response has been slow. On May 20, 2022, the rector of Univalle publicly denounced the threats and called on authorities to take appropriate action. 

Scholars at Risk is concerned about students receiving death threats and other violent threats, apparently in retaliation for their leadership and human rights activities. Students have the right to freely participate in political activities and express their opinion as long as they do so peacefully and responsibly. State authorities should take all reasonable measures to investigate and protect students from such threats and to hold perpetrators accountable. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, death and other violent threats against students undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.