Memorial University has joined Scholars at Risk (SAR), a network of more than 400 higher education institutions in 39 countries working to protect threatened scholars, prevent attacks on higher education and promote academic freedom.
According to Free to Think, a recent report published by SAR, scholars and students at universities around the world face regular threats as a result of their academic work and free expression of ideas.
These threats to higher education communities range from restrictions on travel and unjustified firings to imprisonment and violence.
“Attacks on higher education shrink the space where people can freely think and ask questions about complex and contentious issues,” said Robert Quinn, executive director, SAR.
“Our network members are central to protecting scholars targeted by these attacks and building a stronger, safer university space.”
SAR member institutions assist persecuted scholars and students by offering temporary research and teaching positions, monitoring and advocating against attacks on higher education and conducting learning initiatives to promote academic freedom.
Memorial University’s Scholars at Risk membership will be managed through the Internationalization Office with leadership from a committee of representatives from across disciplines and units, with support from four subcommittees which will focus on management of employment and placement; communications and event planning; fundraising activities; and the arrival and settlement of scholars and their families.
“The freedom to think critically and openly express ideas is fundamental to the activities of academic institutions.”
More details about these groups and how to become involved in the subcommittees will be shared at a lunch-time session open to faculty, staff and students that will take place in early fall 2017.
“Now more than ever, it is important that institutions of higher education support faculty, researchers and students from all over the world who are threatened for peacefully expressing ideas and asking questions,” said Dr. Noreen Golfman, provost and vice-president (academic).
“The freedom to think critically and openly express ideas is fundamental to the activities of academic institutions. We look forward to working with the university community in the coming weeks and months to develop our Scholars at Risk presence and put the right supports in place to welcome scholars in need.”
Faculty, staff and students at member institutions have the opportunity to engage in a variety of SAR activities, including the following:
- inviting SAR scholars to share their stories on campus through the SAR Speaker Series;
- advocating on behalf of imprisoned scholars through Student Advocacy Seminars and SAR’s Action Campaigns;
- researching attacks on higher education through the Academic Freedom Monitoring Project; and
- engaging in a growing conversation around university values by attending SAR workshops and joining working groups.
To learn more about Scholars at Risk and to get involved, contact Sonja Knutson, director of the Internationalization Office.