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: June 08, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Vaal University of Technology

Region & Country:Southern Africa | South Africa

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 8, 2022, a building at Vaal University of Technology (VUT) was set on fire during a student protest.

Starting on June 6, students held protests at VUT demanding the payment of their allowances. On June 8, a VUT building was allegedly set on fire by some students. On June 9, VUT announced the suspension of all academic activities indefinitely and ordered students to vacate university residences.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about the destruction of campus property in the course of a student protest. While students and other protesters have a right to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, they have a responsibility to exercise these rights peacefully and responsibly. The destruction of campus property harms the ability of higher education communities to safely and adequately conduct research, teaching, and other academic activities. State authorities have a responsibility to protect higher education communities, investigate threats, and hold perpetrators responsible. Such incidents undermine academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and democratic society generally.

*SAR identified this incident in data made publicly available by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED)