Rochester Institute of Technology has joined Scholars at Risk (SAR), an international network of over 400 higher education institutions in 40 countries. The SAR mission is to promote academic freedom and protect more than 300 threatened scholars worldwide.
“The threat to academic freedom knows no geographical boundaries, and cooperation within universities and institutions around the world is crucial,” said James Myers, RIT associate provost of international education and global programs. “RIT’s mission of providing quality higher education and the values it stands for, including autonomy, academic freedom, tolerance and inclusivity, includes opening our doors and providing a safe, open forum for academics faced by these challenges.”
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 vary 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, SAR executive director. “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.
Scholars at Risk was founded during a Human Rights program at the University of Chicago in 1999. Its headquarters is located in the Greenwich Village campus of New York University.