On October 5, 2022, the administration of the Kunta-Hadji Russian Islamic University in Chechnya expelled 17 students in apparent connection to their refusal to participate in a rally on September 23 in support of “referendums” on the annexation of Ukrainian territories to Russia.
Adat People Movement, a Chechen opposition party, reported the expulsion on telegram. According to the university, the students were expelled for a “violation of the internal regulations of students.” According to human rights activists, this is a justification that universities commonly use for expelling students who refuse to participate in pro-Russia rallies. Since the start of the war, at least 30 students from universities across Russia have reportedly been expelled for their antiwar stances.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about a university expelling students in apparent retaliation for their political beliefs. Higher education authorities should refrain from disciplinary actions that are politically motivated In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, disciplinary actions intended to deter or punish organized student expression undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.