Academic Freedom
National political tensions in India have spilled over into universities, with numerous incidents on campuses, some of them violent causing injuries and damage to university property. In some cases, campuses have had to be closed, according to an academic freedom report.
There has been a spike in reported attacks on students and scholars in China over the past year, aimed at “eliminating dissent and restricting the flow of ideas”, amid a resurgence of student activism, according to the Scholars at Risk Free to Think 2019 report.
During the past year Scholars at Risk has reported 97 violent incidents involving attacks on higher education communities across 40 countries. At least 32 students, scholars, staff, campus security personnel and others died as a result of these attacks, with many more injured.
Jailed Uighur academic Ilham Tohti, a critic of China’s treatment of Uighurs, who was jailed for life in 2014, has been awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the European Parliament’s top human rights award.
Last year I was imprisoned for nearly seven months in the United Arab Emirates. Reflecting on my experience, I believe that research practice and its risks require better acknowledgement and respect, and freedom to research should be protected, if academics are to continue to contribute to the generation of knowledge.
A Zimbawean student masters student – studying peace, human rights and governance at Africa University – was absent when her colleagues graduated last week because she was locked up in a maximum security prison on a charge of planning to unseat President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.
There are reportedly 30 names on a ‘watchlist’ of international academics and researchers on ‘society, culture and politics’ in Thailand, who are being detained and monitored by Thai immigration police while visiting Thailand, reportedly on the orders of the central Special Branch Bureau.
Academics from around the world contacted by the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association in New Delhi have criticised attendance-monitoring rules for the university’s faculty, which would also affect foreign and visiting professors to the institution.
Student expression has more impact and legitimacy when organised through democratic, inclusive and accountable bodies that foster debate and cooperation across political differences before conflicts arise. University leaders can help to strengthen student expression by creating opportunities for constructive dialogue.
A new report examining the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s relationship with Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, while acknowledging that taking money from agencies affiliated with the Saudi government raises ethical issues, concludes that MIT should not sever those ties.
Two academics are going on trial in Hong Kong for peaceful protest, but no one is speaking up on their campuses. Their universities have not defended their right to free speech. Yet the whole academic endeavour will be harmed if they do not support them.
Amid threats to academic freedom and unjust actions against academics – such as the jailing for life of United Kingdom PhD researcher Matthew Hedges in the United Arab Emirates recently – international branch campuses should engage with their host country and promote acceptance of free inquiry rather than retreat.
An Egyptian state university has said that thesis proposals for masters and doctoral degrees must conform to governmental development plans, raising concerns about academic and research freedoms in the country.
The Central European University (CEU) has announced that it has been forced to launch all new United States-accredited degree programmes in Vienna in September 2019 instead of Budapest, to guarantee that it can recruit students in time for the new academic year.
Matthew Hedges, the United Kingdom PhD researcher sentenced to life for ‘spying’ in the United Arab Emirates, has been pardoned and has returned to the UK. However, at the announcement of his release, officials showed a video they claimed was evidence that he had confessed, which he denies.
Academics and human rights advocates in New Zealand have urged Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to protect the academic freedom of a professor who has faced months of alleged harassment – including a burgled office – ostensibly for her work critical of China’s influence abroad.
The sentencing of United Kingdom doctoral student Matthew Hedges to life imprisonment in Abu Dhabi is causing further shock and alarm for academics undertaking research in the Middle East, who are already shaken by the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October.
A change of president at China’s top university in Beijing is being seen by academics as signalling a tightening of control over dissenting thought among scholars and stronger oversight by the Communist Party of top universities in their role as influencers of young people.
The election of Brazil’s new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, has already seen the beginning of a witch-hunt against academics. Further attacks on higher education, including budget cuts, curriculum changes and the abolition of affirmative action policies, are likely to be next.
A change of president at China’s top university in Beijing is being seen by academics as signalling a tightening of control over dissenting thought among scholars and stronger oversight by the Communist Party of top universities in their role as influencers of young people.
African countries were challenged to take more deliberate steps to build science and innovation capacity and were told that guaranteeing academic freedom is vital for fostering innovation, at the Sixth Africa Higher Education Week and Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture Biennial Conference last week.
Attacks on scholars, students, staff and their institutions are continuing to occur with alarming frequency around the world, killing and harming individuals and undermining higher education systems, according to the 2018 Scholars at Risk Academic Freedom Monitoring Project’s latest annual report.
The imprisonment of Matthew Hedges in the United Arab Emirates is part of a pattern of repression against visiting academics. It is also the result of the blurring of lines between different professions as academics seek greater impact and requires a wider defence of the role of critical enquiry.
Attempts by the government of India to impose new rules on centrally funded universities that would restrict academic freedoms and the right to protest or strike are being reversed due to widespread opposition. Academics saw the measures as a push by government to control universities.
Central European University (CEU) says it can wait no longer for the Orbán government to sign a deal enabling it to operate with academic freedom and has been forced to open a Vienna campus to cater for future students of its United States-accredited masters and doctoral programmes.
As Hungary faces a key vote in the European Parliament, the European University Association has condemned the Hungarian government’s mounting attempts to interfere with academic freedom and the autonomy of the higher education sector, putting it at risk of becoming an “instrument of government”.
Not only have academics lost their jobs and faced being denied the chance of getting any other job, all for signing a peace petition, but hundreds have now been charged with terrorist offences and face either prison or delayed judgment and with it five years of censorship.
Scholars at Risk, the New-York based international network of institutions for protecting scholars and promoting academic freedom, and the University of Oslo, Norway, have jointly developed a free online course on how to use academic freedom to ask critical questions and contribute to a democratic society.
Washington State University has agreed to pay a leading researcher US$300,000 to resolve a complaint about infringement of academic freedom by university administrators who were accused of threatening him with disciplinary action and imposing a gagging order.

Washington State University has agreed to pay a leading researcher US$300,000 to resolve a complaint about infringement of academic freedom by university administrators who were accused of threatening him with disciplinary action and imposing a gagging order.
Iranian scholar Ahmadreza Djalali, a specialist in disaster medicine who returned home to share his knowledge, has been imprisoned for two years without a fair trial and sentenced to death. He has lost in total 20kg and his family fear for his life.
‘Wrongfully convicted’ scholar Dr Ahmadreza Djalali, an emergency medicine specialist, has been told his death sentence will go ahead after the authorities kept his court review date and location secret from his lawyers to deny him the chance to appeal, human rights organisations say.
A judge in Tehran has ordered the death penalty for a Stockholm-based Iranian academic convicted on charges of spying for Israel after being forced to sign a confession. He had been invited to Iran to teach classes in medical responses to disaster emergencies.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A letter from a prominent academic held without trial in a Turkish prison, passed to University World News in a week when 73 more academics have been detained, raises questions about whether academics are being rounded up as part of a legitimate investigation into real threats to the state or to clamp down on dissenting voices.
At the start of his first lecture with a group of new students a prominent University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer always used to say: “I know there are spies among you sent to record what I say in my lectures – go ahead, I don’t care.” But he was an exception and today there remain many reasons for academics to fear criticising the government.
The threats to academics in Turkey are part of a wider European problem of a growing illiberalism that we must all confront. Academic freedom is an ongoing process that must be constantly fought for.
Some universities are attempting to insert new clauses into their employment contracts that aim to limit academics’ ability to speak freely in public debate.
United Arab Emirates authorities have violated basic rights and academic freedom in their prosecution of the Emirati academic Dr Nasser bin Ghaith, a coalition of nine human rights organisations said on 13 October.
A leading historian of Russia's little known wartime collaboration with Nazi Germany is facing calls for a criminal investigation after defending his PhD thesis on a Red Army general who turned traitor against Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and led a small Russian force against the Soviet side in the latter stages of the war.
This year has seen an unprecedented level of protests from the Middle East Studies Association on academic freedom in the Middle East, with attacks in Turkey representing the broadest targeted assault against academics the association has seen. Campaigners have been aided by an explosion in information about violations on digital platforms.
Academics are being threatened and harassed for criticising the Thai regime and the West is turning a blind eye.
The threat to strip a Holocaust expert of a national honour is a direct attack on academic freedom as Poland’s right-wing government seeks to promote a ‘patriotic’ version of the past.
While the European Union and the United States have turned a blind eye to the Turkish government’s brutal clampdown in Kurdish regions, Turkish academics who have spoken out about the regime’s increasingly dictatorial policies have faced punishment and even imprisonment.
The murder of my friend Giulio Regeni in Cairo is a direct challenge to the academic freedom that is a pillar of our higher education system. He is only one of many scholars to find themselves in grave danger. As a scholarly community and as a society, we have a duty to strike to protect them.
An ideological crackdown in China’s universities, promoting Communist Party allegiance and slamming any adherence to ‘Western values’, accompanied by a heightened suppression of freedom of speech, has fuelled concerns about the future of higher education, academic freedom and liberal academics in the country.
In Iran, another scientist has died in a bomb attack strongly resembling earlier assassinations of those involved in the country's controversial nuclear programme. In Sudan, peaceful student protests across the country have been violently suppressed by security forces. Academics and students at Israel's Tel Aviv University have condemned the institution's security services for acting like a "secret police on campus" in pressuring lecturers to help them spy on students. And in Sri Lanka, thousands of students protesting a range of grievances have been evicted from their campus following a court order.
In Uzbekistan, a female Uzbek student on vacation from studies in Germany has committed suicide after four days of police interrogation. In Turkey, 22 of 28 leftist youths detained for six months over accusations of terrorist links have been released after a court rejected the accusations against them. Professor Nasser bin Gaith of Abu Dhabi's Sorbonne University, along with four others detained for eight months for signing an online pro-reform petition, has been freed after a presidential pardon. In Iran, an imprisoned rights activist has been denied leave to write a graduate admissions test. And in Tunisia, Islamic fundamentalist groups have disrupted university classes and exams and have targeted female professors.
In Turkey, 57 members of the Academy of Sciences have resigned in protest against a government decree that will end the academy's autonomy. In Bahrain, university students are under attack by the authorities, with hundreds being tried for pro-democracy activities and six recently receiving 15-year sentences and hefty fines in a court case widely criticised as unfair. Papuan students in Indonesia are being targeted by the authorities for what human rights groups describe as generalised intimidation and threats. And in Azerbhaijan, a top scientist has been demoted for questioning the legality of the detention of youth activist Baxtiyar Haciyev, amid moves against the Azerbaijani intelligentsia.
In Turkey, in an ongoing operation against Kurdish political parties, two academics have been arrested and charged under the Anti Terror Law, but there are concerns about fair trial standards. In the Philippines, educators and activists fear for their lives after the brutal killing of a university vice-president and given escalating - seemingly politically motivated - attacks and murders. In Bahrain, concerns have been expressed about the fairness of the trial of a professor arrested and suspended from his position, amid a wider crackdown on academic freedoms. In Laos rights groups are calling for the release of political prisoners, including four student leaders who remain incarcerated 12 years after protests in the country were crushed. And a US climate change scientist has hailed as a victory for academic freedom and science a court ruling to deny access by a pro-industry think-tank to his private emails.
In Iran, a student activist has been lashed 74 times, just hours before his release from prison after serving a one-year sentence for insulting the president. A Russian historian specialising in the lives of ethnic Germans during the Soviet Union era has gone on trial behind closed doors on charges of illegally revealing personal data. In the UAE, a Sorbonne Abu Dhabi University lecturer has being detained since April on charges of insulting officials, and rights groups have urged the university to support him. A former Cyprus University rector has accused the Famagusta municipality of infringing his right to free expression by cancelling a lecture on the 11 July naval base blast. In India, a row has erupted following the University of Delhi's decision to exclude a controversial essay from its history syllabus, and in Malaysia students have protested against the suspension of a law lecturer for criticising the Sultan of Selangor.
In Syria, a nuclear physicist who was shot in the head has become the latest victim of a series of murders targeting scientists in the city of Homs. Iranian Omid Kokabee, the Texas University doctoral student detained in Tehran's Evin prison on espionage charges, went on trial last week. And in China, the authorities have cancelled the classes of a prominent Uyghur professor at the Beijing Minorities University, and 20 Uyghur professors have been dismissed from a teaching college in the northwestern region of Xianjiang for failing to be fluent in Mandarin.
In Chad two students detained for being in possession of pro-reform pamphlets are preparing to go on trial. In Iran prominent jailed student activist Majid Tavakoli has been permanently banned from studying at any university, and a doctoral student who campaigned for the opposition candidate in the 2009 elections was detained and subjected to 50 lashes. International Turkmen students have been prevented by their country's migration officials from returning to universities in neighbouring Tajikistan and are in danger of being expelled. And in Nigeria, students have accused the authorities of failing to guarantee their safety after extremist Islamic group Boko Haram threatened bomb attacks on universities.
Chinese constitutional scholar and activist Yao Lifa has been freed but is suffering from multiple injuries after spending almost a month in detention. In Iran, religious scholar Ahmad Ghabel is suffering declining health in Vakilabad prison, where he is serving a sentence for insulting the country's supreme leader. Ashkan Zahabian, a student activist jailed in northern Iran, has started a hunger strike to protest against the conditions of his detention and confusion around his case. The family of Abdolreza Soudbakhsh, a professor at Tehran University and medical doctor who was murdered by unidentified men in September 2010, have claimed that his killing was linked to his work with rape and torture victims.
In Iran former university chancellor Mohammad Maleki, charged with being an "enemy of God", has accused the court hearing his case of being illegal, and theological scholar Ahmad Ghabel has been re-incarcerated to serve a 20-month sentence. In Tajikistan, authorities have opened criminal cases against 22 students who have returned from abroad, apparently to discourage them from contacting extremist Islamist groups. US academics who wrote a book on China's Xinjiang region and were banned by the authorities from entering China, have expressed shock at lack of support from their universities. And in Burkina Faso, three police officers have been jailed for their involvement in the death of a student.
In Iran, jailed pro-democracy student activist Abdollah Momeni has been denied medical leave despite serious and worsening health problems. An Iranian postgraduate student at a US university, imprisoned for five months in Tehran for allegedly plotting conspiracy, has asked for a chance to defend himself in a fair trial. In Saudi Arabia prominent scholar Yusuf al-Ahmad has been arrested for criticising the authorities' lack of judicial process for security detainees. Malaysian students have rallied in 25 cities around the world to support free and fair elections in the country, and in Zimbabwe charges of treason against six activists have been downgraded to inciting public violence.
A Guinean student in The Gambia has been released after more than two months in prison or under house arrest, following accusations that he had been planning an uprising. In the UK an Oxford academic has been allowed, under freedom of information laws, to read formerly secret data on climate change. Ireland's Royal College of Surgeons has come under fire for urging staff and students at its medical school in Bahrain not to become involved in politics and for failing to take a stand against the repression of doctors. And in Malaysia, a South Korean student has been arrested after attending a pro-democracy protest.
An Iranian student activist and prisoner of conscience remains in solitary confinement after 37 days in prison with interrogation completed. Charges against a Colombian academic arrested two yeas ago, accused of links with left-wing guerrillas, have been dropped, and he has been released. A student pilot in Iran has been jailed for a year over Facebook activities, including interviews with international media and publicising political activity. A constitutional law scholar in China has gone missing, believed detained in relation to high numbers of independent candidates running in local elections.
A new rule has made it more difficult for asylum seekers in Britain to enter university, by classifying them as overseas rather than home students. In Egypt, security guards have violently dispersed students protesting outside the Ministry of Higher Education in Cairo, and in Bahrain 20-year-old poet and student Ayat al-Qarmezi is facing prison for reading a poem critical of the regime during a pro-democracy demonstration. Six Italian seismologists and a government official are facing trial over deaths linked to the earthquake that destroyed L'Aquila in April 2009.
Several hundred ethnic Uzbek students from Kyrgyzstan, who are studying in Rzhev in Russia, have been harassed by the authorities. Colleagues of Iranian student Omid Kokabee, who is studying for a PhD in physics at the University of Texas, are concerned that he might have been jailed while visiting Iran during the Christmas break. In Syria, a student and other detainees have been tortured and beaten by security forces in the coastal town of Banias. UK freedom of information laws have allegedly been misused to harass and intimidate climate scientists. And in Swaziland student leader Maxwell Dlamini has been held by the authorities since 11 April and a campaign has been launched to support his case.
Iraqi academics have again been the target of violent attacks by insurgents, in a new wave of assassinations. According to the Brussels Tribunal on Iraq, at least 453 academics have been killed since 2003. In Iran, students have protested against a growing security force presence at Tehran University, and at Bahria University in Pakistan students have marched against the sacking of a lecturer who criticised university policies. A student has been jailed for three months in Sudan for participating in anti-government demonstrations, and in the US gay and lesbian students at Christian universities have been agitating for official acceptance.
The Chinese authorities have arrested three Tibetan monks, including a student, in Beijing following a self-immolation protest against Chinese rule in Tibet, and have banned an inter-college debate on the 1911 revolution. In Iran, a human rights lawyer and law professor at Allameh Tabatabaee University in Tehran has been dismissed, and two student activists have been expelled from Baku State University in Azerbaijan. Student anti-government protests have been held in Damascus and at Aleppo University in Syria.
Members of a student group in South Korea have been arrested and accused of violating national security by openly supporting North Korea. There has been a furore in the US over a request by the Republican Party for copies of emails of history professor William Cronon, after he wrote articles critical of the party in Wisconsin. Peking University has announced its intention to screen students, including those with 'radical thoughts' and 'eccentric lifestyles', and in Iran nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri has been arrested and charged with treason. In Sudan's Darfur region, police have killed one protesting student and wounded several others.
After weeks of violence in Burkina Faso, in which at least six students died, the government has shut down all universities until further notice. The Yemini army has injured 98 students while attempting to halt protests on campuses. In Sudan, 100 students and youths have been arrested since January and many have reported severe mistreatment and torture. An Iranian history lecturer has been dismissed after publishing critical articles, and the Iranian Ministry of Education has announced new restrictions on students abroad. In Malawi, lecturers striking against interference in academic freedom have defied a presidential order to go back to work.
Senior Chinese researcher Jin Xide has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for allegedly leaking information to foreign intelligence agencies about the health of North Korea's leader. In Turkmenistan, the government has slapped restrictions on university students, giving no explanation. Malaysian academic Ahmad Fauzi Abdul Hamid and two other men have been acquitted of possessing prohibited religious books, and in Saudi Arabia 119 academics and activists have called for far-reaching reforms. In Belarus a lecturer and a student remain in jail for participating in mass protests following December's disputed presidential election.
A student leader has been abducted by authorities in the province of Balochistan in south-west Pakistan. In Belarus an associate professor has been fired after attending a mass protest over December's disputed presidential election, and in Turkey a sociologist has been tried and acquitted of charges for which she had already been twice acquitted. In South Africa, the Council on Higher Education has suppressed a university audit following complaints by the vice-chancellor that it was "biased", and in Malawi lecturers went on strike after a colleague was interrogated by a local police chief over an example he gave in a political science class.
In Britain, police have asked universities to pass them intelligence on planned protests, as students continue their vociferous campaign against education cuts and fee hikes. In Tunisia, universities remained closed last week but are expected to open tomorrow. The University of Tartu has sent the Croatian parliament a letter urging that the final version of a bill impacting on its autonomy be changed. President Barack Obama has announced that educational exchanges between Cuba and the US will be eased, while in China police and campus security at Peking University have issued a ban on copying sensitive materials. Egypt's Minister of Higher Education Hani Hilal has confirmed that the government will comply with court rulings to end a police presence on campuses.
Election of a new rector at Donetsk National University in Ukraine led to allegations of government interference and violence from university staff, according to reports received from the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group. During the election on 10 December, university staff were allegedly told they could vote for their preferred candidate, but that the "last word was with the Ministry".
Defense lawyers of 25 detained opposition and human rights activists, including the professor and blogger Dr Abeljalil Al-Singace, staged a walk-out of their clients' trial in Bahrain following the court's repeated refusal to allow an investigation into the alleged torture of the detainees, Reporters Without Borders revealed on 9 December.
Students from three universities in the Philippines demonstrated on 18 November against a show cause order brought against 37 members of faculty at the University of the Philippines faculty of law, ABS-CBN News reported.
Ali Gholizadeh, an activist and member of the Daftar Tahkim-e Vahdat student organisation, has been arrested and detained in Mashad, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reported on 5 November.
Writers, filmmakers and social commentators have expressed fear for freedom of speech after the withdrawal of an award-winning book from a university syllabus following pressure from hard-line Hindu activists, AFP reported on 20 October.
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a bill that would have required foundations and other auxiliary groups tied to California's main universities, California State University and the University of California, to open their list of donors to the public, Inside Higher Education reported on 1 October.
Historian Ruslan Zabiliy has been arrested by the Ukrainian security service, the SBU, allegedly on the basis of his research into the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and Ukraine's independence movement in the 1940s and 1950s, the Kyiv Post reported on 17 September.