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 23, 2023

Attack Types: Killings, Violence, Disappearances | Other

Institution(s):National Autonomous University of Mexico

Region & Country:Americas | Mexico

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On November 23, 2023, around 12 individuals attacked students at the National Autonomous University of Mexico’s (UNAM) Faculty of Accounting and Administration (FCA).

Videos posted on social media show the attackers beating students with bats and pipes in a courtyard. The group also shattered windows of campus buildings. At least three students and one instructor were injured.

Students, staff, and UNAM security officers detained four of the attackers, who were transported to the public prosecutor’s office in Coyoacán.

The group reportedly conducted the attack to prevent the completion of the FCA director’s annual activities report, which was scheduled to be held later that day. After the incident, UNAM suspended FCA classes for the rest of the day and released a statement condemning the disruption of the order and academic activity at the institution.

On November 25, two of the attackers, identified as Josue ‘N’ and Israel ‘N’, were charged with aggravated robbery and were placed in preventive detention.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about violent and destructive attacks on campus to prevent the functioning of a higher education institution. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, such actions 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)