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Academic Freedom News Archive - 2012 and earlier

        
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Academic Freedom News 2014
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Academic Freedom News 2013
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Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements.  Scholars at Risk identifies situations of concern on its own and welcomes reports submitted by faculty, students and volunteers at participating higher education institutions.  Unless otherwise indicated (such as in articles written by SAR), the language and views contained in the reports below reflect those of the originating author and/or publication and do not necessarily represent the views of Scholars at Risk or its members, affiliates, board or staff.



Title: Providing a safe haven for scholars at risk
Publication: McGill Reporter
Author: Bridget Wayland
Published Date:
January 28, 2014


Montreal is half a world away from the rural community of Bure, Ethiopia, where Semahagn Abebe was raised by his grandmother. One of eleven children, he soon moved to the capital city, Addis Ababa, to pursue higher education and launch his career.


Title: Prof Suspended Over Tweet Won't Return in 2013
Publication: Associated Press
Author: John Milburn
Published Date:
October 25, 2013


The chancellor of the University of Kansas announced Thursday that a journalism professor suspended over a tweet that angrily targeted the National Rifle Association after the Navy Yard shootings will not return to his classroom in 2013.


Title: Confederate flag raises issues, ire at a N.Y....
Publication: USA Today
Author: James Goodman and Sean Dobbin
Published Date:
October 25, 2013


ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A University of Rochester student says college officials violated his right to free expression by forcing him to take down a Confederate flag he had put in the window of his room on campus.


Title: Conditions for Collaboration
Publication: Inside Higher Ed
Author: Elizabeth Redden
Published Date:
October 24, 2013


In an e-mail message to Wellesley College students and professors, President H. Kim Bottomly said she hopes the college’s partnership with Peking University can continue despite its controversial dismissal of Professor Xia Yeliang, and that she is supportive of efforts to bring Xia to campus as a visiting scholar. More than 130 Wellesley faculty members have signed a letter objecting to the termination of Xia “based solely on his political and philosophical views” and saying that they would urge...


Title: Students, academics among victims of oppression
Publication: University World News
Author: Peta Lee
Published Date:
October 24, 2013


Human rights group Amnesty International has called on Chad to end its brutal practice of illegally detaining and killing critics. It has also demanded that the government curb repressive tactics against opponents, including students and academics.


Title: Universities warned over gagging clauses
Publication: Herald Scotland
Published Date:
October 23, 2013


SCOTTISH universities have been warned not to prevent student leaders from criticising their institutions.


Title: Expelled scholar Xia Yeliang may have to take...
Publication: South China Morning Post
Author: Patrick Boehler
Published Date:
October 23, 2013


Xia Yeliang, the outspoken professor fired last week by Peking University, triggering a debate about academic freedom at China’s most prestigious academic institution, said he is considering taking up a visiting scholarship overseas if he couldn't find a teaching position at a Chinese university.


Title: LSE ‘seeks facts’ over expulsion at Peking
Publication: Times Higher Education
Author: David Matthews
Published Date:
October 22, 2013


Peking’s School of Economics voted last week to expel Xia Yeliang, a champion of free speech and critic of the ruling Communist Party, it has been reported.


Title: Iranian Student Activist Granted Prison Leave
Publication: Radio Farda, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Published Date:
October 22, 2013


Majid Tavakoli, a prominent jailed student activist and one of the symbols of Iran's embattled student movement, has been given prison leave for the first time since his arrest in 2009.


Title: USF looking into professor's toilet-priests comparison
Publication: The Tampa Tribune
Author: Jerome R. Stockfisch
Published Date:
October 22, 2013


TAMPA — A Catholic watchdog group is accusing a University of South Florida professor of mocking priests by comparing them to a toilet in a presentation at a recent academic conference.


Title: NASA Lifts Ban on Chinese Scientists at US Conference
Publication: Voice of America
Author: Michael Lipin
Published Date:
October 21, 2013


U.S. space agency NASA says it has lifted a controversial ban on the participation of Chinese scientists at a scientific conference in California next month.


Title: Qatari poet sentenced to 15 years in prison for...
Publication: Reuters
Published Date:
October 21, 2013


(Reuters) - A Qatari court on Monday upheld a 15-year jail sentence handed down to a poet convicted of criticizing the former emir and attempting to incite revolt, a relative said.


Title: Top Chinese university expels outspoken economist...
Publication: Washington Post
Author: Associated Press
Published Date:
October 18, 2013


BEIJING — An elite Chinese university has decided to expel an outspoken economist who champions free speech and the rule of law, a move critics say underscores the Communist Party’s intolerance for discussion of democratic values that it believes threatens its legitimacy.


Title: Smoke gets in your eyes
Publication: University World News
Author: Hans de Wit, Fiona Hunter and Laura Rumbley
Published Date:
October 18, 2013


The 25th annual conference of the European Association for International Education in Istanbul was a great success. With yet again a record number of participants – over 4,800 from more than 90 countries – an exhibition hall that was bigger and more full than ever, a high number of workshops, sessions and dialogues and lots of wining and dining, the conference was a small but inspiring island of debate and networking on international education in the hectic city of Istanbul.


Title: Universities 'cutting entry requirements' for...
Publication: The Telegraph
Author: Graeme Paton
Published Date:
October 18, 2013


Rising numbers of institutions are cutting entry requirements at the last minute to allow students who “miss their target grades” to get a place, it emerged.


Title: Protests despite Rouhani call for university freedoms
Publication: University World News
Author: Shafigeh Shirazi
Published Date:
October 17, 2013


A spate of student protests against oppressive measures on campuses and lack of basic rights for students have continued across Iran, despite a call by President Hassan Rouhani for more freedom in universities.


Title: What Iran Must Do to Protect Academic Freedom
Publication: The Chronicle of Higher Education
Author: Rob Quinn
Published Date:
October 16, 2013


assan Rouhani, Iran’s president, recently called for the lifting of restrictions on academic freedom in his country. He told students and professors at the University of Tehran that Iranian scholars should be allowed to participate in international conferences and that it was a “shame” that they were not able to express their views.


Title: Ideas and support to save higher education in...
Publication: University World News
Author: Mark Angelson and Allan Goodman
Published Date:
October 15, 2013


Education is the orphan of any war. This is particularly true in Syria, where brutal violence has spilled over onto university campuses, with tragic bombings this year at the University of Aleppo and the University of Damascus.


Title: Nine Chinese universities sign academic freedom...
Publication: South China Morning Post
Author: Liz Heron
Published Date:
October 15, 2013


The heads of the mainland's nine leading research universities have signed a statement that commits them to work together to advance and uphold academic freedom.


Title: We must preserve Syria’s scientific assets
Publication: Nature
Author: Michele Catanzaro
Published Date:
October 14, 2013


The exodus of scientists out of Syria as a result of war was the topic of crisis talks organized by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York last week. In the past two years, 98 Syrian scholars have applied to the IIE's Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF), which provides fellowships abroad to faculty who are threatened in their home countries. About ten times more than applied between 2002 and 2011.


Title: University at centre of India publishing row
Publication: Associated Press
Published Date:
October 11, 2013


A CRAMPED one-room shop tucked away in Delhi University seems an unlikely battleground for a publishing war that, academics warn, threatens quality of and access to education in the world's second most populous nation.


Title: John Greyson, Tarek Loubani free to leave Egypt,...
Publication: CBC News
Published Date:
October 10, 2013


Canadians John Greyson and Dr. Tarek Loubani are now free to leave Egypt, news that comes after the two were released from jail last weekend but not allowed to leave the country.


Title: University Classes Cancelled Thursday Due to Professors’...
Publication: Tunisia Live
Author: Nissaf Slama
Published Date:
October 09, 2013


University classes around Tunisia are likely to be empty Thursday following a general strike announced by the union of university professors.


Title: Top Chinese Universities Sign Statement Including...
Publication: The Chronicle of Higher Education
Author: Ian Wilhelm
Published Date:
October 09, 2013


Nine elite Chinese universities on Wednesday signed a statement in support of open inquiry, scientific integrity, and other academic values as part of a nascent effort to work with associations that represent many of the world’s top universities. The statement outlines the key components of a modern research university.


Title: Some Academics Want to “Get Off the Sidelines”...
Publication: Al-Fanar
Author: Tina Kelley
Published Date:
October 08, 2013


NEW YORK CITY–”Education is the orphan of every war,” said Henry Jarecki, a founder of the Scholar Rescue Fund. In a panel discussion at the New School, academics discussed the international community’s efforts to protect the world’s latest orphans, Syrian students and professors, decimated during the Syrian conflict.


Title: A Syrian Scholar in Exile
Publication: Syria Deeply
Author: Amal Alachkar
Published Date:
October 08, 2013


As the international community watches to see what steps world leaders will take to address the recent atrocities in Syria, there is something that the education community can do to help invest in the country’s future.


Title: In Turkey, Scholars Protest Threats to Academic...
Publication: The Chronicle of Higher Education
Author: Ceylan Yeginsu
Published Date:
October 07, 2013


When Bill Cobern, director of the Mallinson Institute for Science Education at Western Michigan University, visited Sakarya University, in Turkey, he was warmly welcomed, he says. But his views on religion and science received a chillier reception.


Title: Al Quds University Under Fire
Publication: Al-Fanar
Author: Rasha Faek and Sarah Lynch
Published Date:
October 06, 2013


An Israeli patrol injured eight students at Al Quds University with rubber bullets and 78 students with tear gas after conflict broke out between the students and the police, a university spokesman said. The Israelis contend they were provoked and responded in self defense.


Title: Canadian Academics’ Letter Smuggled Out of Egypt...
Publication: Al-Fanar
Author: Sarah Lynch
Published Date:
October 02, 2013


CAIRO – Egyptian authorities this week extended the detention of two Canadian academics being held without charge to another 45 days as their supporters continue to press for their release.


Title: Wellesley College partnership with China university...
Publication: CBS News
Author: Shannon Van Sant
Published Date:
October 01, 2013


Xia Yeliang is a professor of economics at China's Peking University. Through his classroom lectures and online blogs he has become one of China's most outspoken advocates of political change.


Title: Catholic college's students protest canceled gay...
Publication: USA Today
Author: Cara Newlon
Published Date:
October 01, 2013


Zach Gavry attended his freshman orientation at Providence College in 2010. Gavry, who is Catholic, received a scholarship to go to the Roman Catholic institution.


Title: Syria: Fuel-Air Bombs Strike School
Publication: Human Rights Watch
Published Date:
October 01, 2013


(New York ) – A Syrian government airstrike using fuel-air explosive bombs hit outside a secondary school in the opposition-held city of Raqqa on September 29, 2013, killing at least 14 civilians. At least 12 of those killed were students attending their first day of classes.


Title: New watchdog group protects academic freedom
Publication: Scoop Independent News
Author: Academic Freedom Aotearoa
Published Date:
October 01, 2013


Academic freedom is crucial to a strong democracy says Professor Jack Heinemann, co-chair of a soon to be launched group of academics out to defend academic freedom.


Title: Egyptian authorities may charge Loubani, Greyson...
Publication: Global News
Author: Nick Logan
Published Date:
October 01, 2013


Two Canadians imprisoned without charges in Egypt may be facing allegation of murder and “intention to kill,” according to a media report.


Title: Five B-School Profs Face Suspensions for 'War'...
Publication: Bloomberg Businessweek
Author: Louis Lavelle
Published Date:
September 30, 2013


Five tenured professors at a Canadian business school face “lengthy” suspensions for retaliating against less senior faculty because of their perceived allegiance to a top administrator.


Title: Nigeria students killed in college attack
Publication: The Guardian
Author: Associated Press
Published Date:
September 29, 2013


Suspected Islamic extremists have gunned down dozens of students as they slept in their dormitories during a night-time attack on an agricultural college in north-east Nigeria, the school's provost said.


Title: KU professor’s tweet highlights free speech vs....
Publication: Kansas City Star
Author: Brad Cooper
Published Date:
September 28, 2013


One professor compared terror victims to Nazis. Another suggested the feds toppled the twin towers. A third accused Republicans of raping the country.


Title: University uniforms challenge – And academic freedom
Publication: University World News
Author: Suluck Lamubol
Published Date:
September 28, 2013


Thailand’s Thammasat University, one of the few in the country that does not require students to wear uniforms, has sparked a nationwide debate after a student launched a provocative campaign challenging the need for uniforms in higher education. Now the matter has taken a new turn, transforming into an academic freedom issue.


Title: Harvard Press Defends Publishing Controversial...
Publication: Inside Higher Ed
Published Date:
September 27, 2013


University presses -- like other publishers -- know that not all reviews will be favorable, and generally don't respond to most critiques of their books. But the debate over a new book published by Harvard University Press has led its director to issue a defense of the decision to publish. The book in question is The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact With Hitler, by Ben Urwand, a fellow at Harvard. The book has been praised by some for revealing the extent to which Hollywood avoided offending the Nazis,...


Title: Tunisian rapper Klay BBJ jailed for six months
Publication: BBC
Published Date:
September 26, 2013


Tunisian rapper Ahmed Ben Ahmed, known as Klay BBJ, has been sentenced to six months in jail for insulting the authorities in his songs.


Title: Who Can Speak at Providence?
Publication: Inside Higher Ed
Author: Scott Jaschik
Published Date:
September 26, 2013


Providence College announced late Wednesday that, under certain conditions, it would permit a lecture by a philosopher who is an advocate of same-sex marriage. And the college now says that, when it canceled the appearance of John Corvino, it was really trying to reschedule the event, not call it off.


Title: Bahrain rights group wins Norwegian award
Publication: Agence France-Presse
Published Date:
September 26, 2013


AFP - The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, whose founder and director are both jailed, won Norway's Rafto Prize for rights defenders Thursday for its fight against repression in the Gulf state.


Title: Dialogue Not So Diverse at Canada’s Universities
Publication: PanAm Post
Author: Fergus Hodgson
Published Date:
September 25, 2013


Rallying cries of diversity and academic freedom may flow through Canadian universities, but a new report from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms suggests they ring somewhat hollow. The 2013 Campus Freedom Index, released on Tuesday, finds that a majority do not uphold free expression, and “have engaged in the censorship of student expression on campus, [failing] in their duty to protect free expression rights.”


Title: Emoties bij lezing over academische vrijheid
Publication: Univers
Author: Zoe-Amber Wolters
Published Date:
September 25, 2013


“Welcome to this meeting, where political power meets knowledge”. Zo wordt het publiek begroet dat zich heeft verzameld in de Black Box van de Esplanade. De zaal is niet bepaald vol, maar het handjevol mensen dat aanwezig is lijkt oprecht geïnteresseerd in wat er gaat gebeuren. Er is geen angst om op de voorste rijen plaats te nemen, zoals bij colleges maar al te vaak wel zo is, nee, ditmaal wil iedereen zo dicht mogelijk bij de actie zitten.


Title: North Carolina school board lifts 'Invisible Man'...
Publication: Reuters
Author: Colleen Jenkins
Published Date:
September 25, 2013


(Reuters) - A North Carolina school board lifted on Wednesday its ban of Ralph Ellison's classic novel "Invisible Man" from school libraries after being ridiculed by residents and undercut by a giveaway of the book at a local bookstore.


Title: China: Activist ‘Disappeared’ Ahead of UN Rights...
Publication: Human Rights Watch
Published Date:
September 24, 2013


(New York) – The Chinese government should immediately release Cao Shunli, a Beijing-based activist who has been forcibly disappeared since September 14, 2013, Human Rights Watch said today. She has not been heard from since she was questioned and barred from boarding a flight to Geneva to attend a training session ahead of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council review of China’s rights record, planned for October 22.


Title: Iranian student awarded human-rights prize while...
Publication: Nature
Author: Michele Catanzaro
Published Date:
September 24, 2013


Omid Kokabee, a physics PhD student jailed in Iran since January 2011, was awarded yesterday the 2014 American Physical Society’s Andrei Sakharov Prize for “his courage in refusing to use his physics knowledge to work on projects that he deemed harmful to humanity, in the face of extreme physical and psychological pressure.”


Title: Partial reprieve for students barred from universities
Publication: University World News
Author: Shafigeh Shirazi and Yojana Sharma
Published Date:
September 19, 2013


Iran’s Ministry of Science has announced that students recently barred from universities because of student or political activism will be allowed to continue their studies. But only students who have faced restrictions since 2011 will benefit from the reprieve.


Title: Easing the Syrian Conflict’s Toll on Higher Education
Publication: Al-Fanar
Author: Rami Zaatari
Published Date:
September 18, 2013


The ongoing crisis and violence in Syria over the past 20 months has had a very harmful effect on education. After outlining the damage, I have some recommendations on what both Syrian and international organizations might be able to do to help Syrian higher education.


Title: Iran releases prisoners, including prominent human...
Publication: Washington Post
Author: Associated Press
Published Date:
September 18, 2013


TEHRAN, Iran — Iran released a dozen prominent political prisoners, including a human rights lawyer who defended opposition activists and was imprisoned for three years, activists, media and the lawyer’s husband said Wednesday.


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