UCI has been a longtime advocate for student success through freedom of expression and the exchange of ideas. Around the world, the number of scholars at risk of being arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned because of their political or religious beliefs or their scholarship is increasing. Last summer, a failed coup attempt in Turkey led to an unprecedented crackdown on academic freedom in that country, resulting in thousands of professors losing their jobs and being arrested or threatened. These educators are our colleagues and are in need of our support.
With the approval of our Academic Senate and the generous support of the Office of the Provost, UCI has recently become a member of Scholars at Risk, an organization comprising more than 400 universities and institutions around the world that provide assistance, advocacy and learning opportunities to scholars and students in volatile environments. As a member of SAR, UCI has the ability to host professors, researchers and students; coordinate speaker series on the importance of academic freedom; and attend conferences with our peers to work together on seminal issues facing higher education both locally and internationally.
In January, UCI was proud to participate in the Western regional meeting of SAR at Pomona College alongside dozens of partner universities to learn about hosting scholars in danger, promoting undergraduate involvement in advocacy, and charting a course of action for the coming year.
We intend to hold a launch event this fall to spread the word about our involvement in SAR. If you are interested in supporting this cause by either hosting a scholar or planning student advocacy, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jane O. Newman
Professor of Comparative Literature and European Languages & Studies