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 04, 2023

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):University of Fort Hare

Region & Country:Southern Africa | South Africa

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On June 4, 2023, twelve students at the University of Fort Hare’s Alice Campus set the university’s indoor sports center on fire, vandalized computer labs, and looted the cafeteria.

The arson, vandalism, and looting was apparently an attempt by students to postpone midterm exams. Students claimed they had been unable to access study materials – a claim that the university spokesperson said was unfounded. Police arrested 12 individuals involved for “malicious damage to property and burglary.”

Scholars at Risk is concerned with the intentional theft and destruction of a university’s facilities. Such acts erode the right to education, and diminish everyone’s access to a safe, free and open university space. State and de facto authorities should take all reasonable measures to prevent and respond to such incidents, including ensuring campus security and conducting prompt and thorough investigations, as appropriate.