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: November 28, 2022

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):Columbia University

Region & Country:Americas | United States of America

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 28, 2022, an unidentified man attacked a woman participating in a protest at Columbia University.

About 200 people gathered to protest in front of the university’s Low Library to demonstrate solidarity with a nationwide movement in China against the country’s COVID lockdown restrictions. During the demonstration, a man repeatedly punched a woman in the head, leaving her unconscious. The man reportedly fled on foot after the attack. The woman was hospitalized. It’s unclear what led to the attack.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a violent attack on a student participating in a protest at a university campus. State authorities should take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to such attacks, including by holding perpetrators accountable, in accordance with international human rights standards. In addition to the harm to the immediate victim, violent attacks on protesters at university campuses undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.

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