Academic Freedom Media Review

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Posted: 08-11-2021 14:50 | Views: 142
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October 29 - November 4, 2021

Scholars at Risk monitors reports of threats to academic freedom and higher education communities worldwide, including media articles, blogs, opinion pieces and other announcements.  Unless otherwise indicated (such as in articles written by SAR), the language and views contained in the search results 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. An archive of the Media Review is available on our website.

INDIA: Top university’s academic seminar on Kashmir blocked
Shuriah Niazi and Yojana Sharma, University World News, 11/4
Jawaharlal Nehru University, one of India’s top universities, canceled a webinar on Kashmir organized by the university’s Centre for Women’s Studies, reportedly for referring to Kashmir as “Indian-occupied Kashmir”.
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UNITED STATES: 3 U. of Florida Experts Couldn’t Testify on a Voting-Rights Law. This Professor Had No Trouble.
Michael Vasquez, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/3
Court records show that the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee hired a Florida International University professor as an “expert witness” in a case challenging restrictive voting policy set by Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature. The news comes after the University of Florida denied professors’ requests to testify in the same case.
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HONG KONG: What is the fate of Hong Kong’s universities under Xi?
Bryan E Penprase and John Aubrey Douglass, University World News, 11/3
Bryan E Penprase and John Aubrey Douglass discuss the erosion of the “One Party, Two Systems” principle, which stated that the socialist system and policies of Mainland China would not be practiced in Hong Kong, and its impact on Hong Kong’s universities.
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MYANMAR: Military coup kills higher education dreams in Myanmar
Emily Fishbein and Nu Nu Lusan, Al Jazeera, 11/3
The February 2021 military coup has severely damaged Myanmar’s higher education system. Many domestic opportunities for higher education have been halted, and killings, torture, and arrests have increased. Studying abroad, however, has offered an opportunity for young people to pursue higher education.
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MALAYSIA: Malaysian universities in dire need of reform, say scholars
Pola Lem, Times Higher Education, 11/2
Malaysian academics said the country’s higher education system continued to focus on indicators driven by political and economic motives, rather than developing graduates with critical thinking skills.
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UNITED STATES: Florida Bars State Professors From Testifying in Voting Rights Case
Michael Wines, The New York Times, 10/29
Three University of Florida professors have been barred from testifying in a lawsuit to overturn the state’s new law restricting voting rights because participating in a lawsuit against the state “is adverse to U.F.’s interests,” according to university officials. The ban raises questions of academic freedom and First Amendment rights.
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KENYA: Kenya dithers on university reforms amid backlash
Gilbert Nganga, University World News, 10/29
The Kenyan government has halted the restructuring of the country’s public universities to avert a surging backlash against the changes. The announcement came amid a crisis at the University of Nairobi, which reviewed its top leadership structure without consulting the Secretary for Education.
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CHINA / GERMANY: New row over Confucius Institutes’ role on campuses
Yojana Sharma, University World News, 10/29
Two events promoting the book “Xi Jinping – The most powerful man in the world” by Stefan Aust, a former editor-in-chief of Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, at German universities were cancelled due to pressure from Chinese diplomats. The events were to be hosted by the universities’ China-funded Confucius Institutes.

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UNITED KINGDOM: Sussex professor resigns after transgender rights row
Richard Adams, The Guardian, 10/28
Kathleen Stock, the University of Sussex philosophy professor whose views on gender identification and transgender rights prompted student protest, has announced her resignation from the university.

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