23 October 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Academic Freedom
‘Global crisis’ of violence against higher education
Scholars at Risk’s latest annual monitoring report maps an ongoing ‘global crisis’ worldwide of violence and suppression being used to target and retaliate against universities as spaces in which everyone is free to think, question and share ideas.
Higher education under ‘near-constant attack’ – SAR
State and university authorities in Turkey are continuing to take sweeping and targeted measures – including investigations, detentions, prosecutions, firings and travel restrictions against academics – that pose an “unprecedented threat” to higher education, according to Scholars at Risk or SAR.
Resisting Turkey’s ‘war on academe’
Turkish academics who have been purged from public universities in the crackdown since the July 2016 coup attempt are defying the authorities, coming together in acts of resistance and continuing to do their jobs, despite the ongoing repression.
Student protests blocked by tear gas and bullets
Student protests have frequently been met with violent retaliation, including by state security forces, resulting in deaths and injuries from bullets, rubber bullets, shotgun pellets, tear gas and pepper spray, according to Scholars at Risk’s annual report on threats to higher education.
New cyber law threatens academic freedoms and activism
A proposed Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill is likely to have a devastating effect on academic freedom and student activism in Zimbabwe, where the law and legal system are used to thwart dissent from ordinary citizens, academics and student activists.

Universities must stand up to Chinese censorship
Universities need to demonstrate their founding principles in the way they deal with naked attempts by China to shut down debate and academic freedom – as the storm over Cambridge University Press’s recent withdrawal of articles on sensitive subjects highlights.
International academic conference participants charged
A professor who organised an international conference on Thai studies and four Thai academics and participants attending the conference have been charged with violating the military junta’s ban on political gatherings of more than five people.
Call for release of student imprisoned for Facebook post
Scholars at Risk has called on the global academic community to join a campaign urging the Thai authorities to release from prison and drop lèse majesté charges against law student and activist Jatupat ‘Pai’ Boonpattararaksa for a Facebook post.
Purge of academics has reached a 'staggering' scale – SAR
In the year since the attempted coup in Turkey, a “staggering” number of academics have faced criminal investigations, detentions, prosecutions, mass dismissal, expulsion and restrictions on travel, according to the head of Scholars at Risk or SAR, the New York-based scholar rescue network.
Senate rejects closure of campus over terror attacks
The University of Maiduguri in north east Nigeria is to remain open despite ongoing terror attacks by Islamic terror group Boko Haram after Nigeria’s Senate resolved to push for tighter campus security and to keep the university open as a symbol of triumph over the extremist group and its ideas.
Sharp drop in research output after purge of academics
A new report claims that the short-term effects of the large-scale purge carried out by the Turkish government since the failed coup attempt a year ago include a 28% drop in research output of academics based in Turkey in 2017.
Links with Turkey vital amid clampdown, academics say
The mass dismissals of academics in Turkey and the clampdown on academic freedom there have had a profound effect on academic cooperation with Germany. But at this moment universities need to maintain their links with Turkey’s universities to keep windows and minds open, academics argue.
Turkish scholars in US face dilemma on speaking out
Turkish academics in the United States have found themselves in a precarious position since the Turkish government’s sweeping response to the attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a year ago. They feel a duty to speak out against suppression of academic freedom but fear the consequences for their family and friends.
Greater curbs on academic freedom in 2017 – Report
Egyptian authorities have tightened restrictions on university lecturers and students this year as part of an ongoing state-led crackdown that started more than three years ago, a report by a rights group has shown.
Calls to drop charges against outspoken academic
Human rights group Amnesty International has called for all charges to be dropped against outspoken Ugandan academic Stella Nyanzi who was last Wednesday released on bail after spending four weeks in prison on charges related to Facebook criticism of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
Call for academic boycott to end unlawful intimidation
Signing petitions of support for the academics facing persecution in Turkey is not enough. We need to take much more vigorous action. An international academic boycott of Turkish universities, research institutions, trusts and foundations, and targeted action against those initiating intimidatory and unlawful action against academics, can no longer be avoided.
Time for Bologna to stand up for academic freedom
The attack on the Central European University marks a critical moment for the European Union. Silence implies weakness. It is time for Bologna to break with the convention of not making announcements between political meetings and seize the opportunity to defend academic freedom. Photo credit: EPA
The strangling of a democratic student movement
There have been more than 2,300 human rights violations against students since the army's overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013. The ensuing state-led crackdown on universities, including measures to silence students and other critical actors in society, signals an imminent crisis for higher education, according to a new report.
Academic jailed for 10 years for human rights tweets
Dr Nasser Bin Ghaith, a prominent economist, academic and human rights defender, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for tweeting criticism of the human rights record of both Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. Before the verdict was given, a coalition of 10 human rights organisations had urged the United Arab Emirates authorities to immediately and unconditionally release him.
Independent thinking under attack from nationalists
Amendments to higher education law proposed by the Hungarian government target one international university in particular – the Central European University, which played a central role in rebuilding democracy across the region – and are aimed at forcing it to shut down. It is part of an emerging trend of seeing universities as a threat.
Academia needs to be ready to defend its freedom
Academic freedom is about the right to freely think, question and share ideas. Now more than ever there is a great need to join forces to promote the academic freedom of university staff, students and higher education institutions around the globe.
Iranian scholar faces threat of death sentence
Dr Ahmadreza Djalali, an Iranian-born scholar imprisoned in Iran since April 2016 in connection with international collaboration with scholars from countries considered to be 'enemy states', has been threatened with a charge that carries the death sentence, according to human rights organisations. He was collaborating with Iranian universities in his capacity as a visiting professor on disaster medicine.
How should universities confront a post-truth world?
Universities need to defend academic freedom and research by re-establishing a respect for objective truth and powerful arguments. They must become trust-builders as well as truth-seekers by creating many more arenas for debate.
Can academic freedom make space for minority groups?
A debate about academic freedom versus inclusivity has hit the headlines, but what it shows more than anything is a need for our understanding of academic freedom to evolve so inclusivity and academic freedom can be seen as complementary forces.
Can academic freedom make space for minority groups?
A debate about academic freedom versus inclusivity has hit the headlines, but what it shows more than anything is a need for our understanding of academic freedom to evolve so inclusivity and academic freedom can be seen as complementary forces.