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 19, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances

Institution(s):University of Buenos Aires

Region & Country:Americas | Argentina

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On April 19, 2023, students from opposing groups at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) Faculty of Law violently clashed with one another at an assembly to vote on reforming the statute of the student center.

The vote was initially called by the groups Franja Morada (the student wing of the Unión Cívica Radical, a centrist liberal political party affiliated with Socialist International) and La Nuevo Derecho (a reformist student group), which represents the current student leadership at the Faculty of Law. Among the reforms to be voted upon at the assembly was one that would postpone the annual elections of student representatives and extend the terms of the current representatives. Student opposition groups have called the move “undemocratic.”

There are mixed versions of how the violence took place. The two student groups affiliated with the current leadership accused left-wing groups, including La Cámpora, a political youth organization, of trying to manipulate the vote by facilitating the entry of non-students into the Aula Magna, where the vote was taking place. Leftist opposition groups rejected those accusations and in turn accused Franja Morada of installing barricades and using security guards to prevent them from entering the Aula Magna for the vote.

The vote took place while the fighting was ongoing, and a two-thirds majority approved the proposed reforms.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violence between rival student groups on campus and about the obstruction of student elections by that violence. Students must refrain from violence and respect the right to freedom of association and freedom of expression, and university authorities must take reasonable measures to ensure safe living conditions for students. In addition to harm to the immediate victims, such violence by students undermines shared governance, academic freedom, and democratic society generally.

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