MESA is very pleased to report that Dr. Hatoon al-Fassi was released from prison in Saudi Arabia on May 2, 2019, and has been allowed to return home to her family. Dr. al-Fassi is a renowned historian of women in pre-Islamic Arabia, a prominent advocate for women's rights, and a long-time member of MESA. She was the recipient in November 2018, in absentia, of the MESA Academic Freedom Award, the highest recognition MESA can bestow in acknowledgement of contributions to academic freedom. Dr. al-Fassi's release has been characterized as "temporary;" we continue to call for her full exoneration. We call, as well, for the release of the other women's rights advocates who remain in detention.
Committee on Academic Freedom
MESA’s Committee on Academic Freedom comprises two sub-committees: MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and NA (North America). The mission of CAF is to address violations by protesting them at the highest government and diplomatic levels of the country where the violation occurs. The cases that CAF has addresses can be viewed in the list of interventions. To learn more about CAF, read the Committee's protocol.
Letter to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Supreme Court Justices and Registrars, Ministers Shaked and Deri expressing grave concerns regarding the Jerusalem District Court’s decision to uphold the deportation of Mr. Omar Shakir on the basis of his human rights advocacy. CAF calls on the Israeli Supreme Court to reverse the district court’s decision. CAF also calls on the Interior Ministry to cease deporting or barring people from entry on the basis of their political views.
Letter calling on Tufts University to adhere to accepted standards of equity and transparency with regard to Dr. Thomas Abowd's contract renewal and to uphold the principles of academic freedom.
Scholars at Risk (SAR) and the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression in Egypt (AFTE) have filed a joint submission with the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR), highlighting attacks and pressures on higher education in Egypt.
Scholars at Risk (SAR), in cooperation with the Human Rights Law Centre at the University of Nottingham, has filed a submission with the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review, highlighting attacks and pressures on higher education in Iran.
Letter to Israeli authorities condemning the continued harassment and arbitrary arrests of Palestinian university students by Israeli occupying forces. These arrests and campus incursions violate the right to education and academic freedom, and we call upon Israel to cease these attacks on Palestinian universities.
Letter to the president of Kingsborough Community College and the interim chancellor of the City University of New York calling on them to defend faculty members subjected to baseless accusations of anti-Semitism and harassment, and to uphold the right to free speech and the principles of academic freedom.
Letter criticizing the definition of anti-Semitism in HB 741, a bill under consideration by the Florida House of Representatives, because it conflates criticism of Israel and Zionism with anti-Semitism, thereby threatening the right to free speech and academic freedom at Florida's institutions of higher education.
Recent developments concerning the prosecution of Peace Petition signatories and targeting of scholars
Letter regarding recent developments in the prosecution of scholars who signed the declaration “We will not be a party to this crime”—commonly referred to as the “Academics for Peace Petition”—as well as the ongoing targeting of scholars whose research exposes threats emanating from the Turkish government’s policies in areas such as public health and environmental regulation.
Public Smear Campaign against Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian and Hebrew University’s Failure to Protect Her
Letter denouncing the aggressive public smear campaign against Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian related to her research and expressing concern regarding the Hebrew University’s failure to protect her.
Letter to President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and Members of the Senate and House of Representatives expressing opposition to the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Clarification Act (ATCA) of 2018, as it results in the denial of the right to education to Palestinian students from the West Bank and Gaza Strip in a MEPI program. CAF calls on Congress and the President to cancel ATCA.
Letter condemning the arbitrary arrests and detention of Palestinian students and professors as well as the assaults on Palestinian universities. These measures are a clear violation of Palestinian academic freedom.
Letter to UAE authorities protesting the decision of the State Security Court of the Federal Supreme Court to uphold the 10 year prison sentence imposed on human rights advocate Ahmed Mansoor in 2018.
Letter to UAE authorities expressing concern for the health of Nasser bin Ghaith, a professor of economics sentenced to ten years' imprisonment in 2017 for "insulting" the UAE in public statements and tweets, who is on hunger-strike.
Letter expressing concern over the most recent version of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (S. 720) which continues to criminalize participation in what it terms “politically motivated” boycotts directed at Israel.
Letter (co-signed by Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies) to UAE authorities condemning the sentencing of British PhD student Matthew Hedges to life imprisonment for ‘spying’ supposedly on behalf of the United Kingdom’s Secret Intelligence Service.
Letter protesting joint SUNY-YOK discussion.
Letter to the University of Michigan Defending Graduate Student Threatened for Refusing to Write Recommendation Letter
Letter to the University of Michigan protesting the imposition of disciplinary sanctions against Professor John Cheney-Lippold because of his decision not to write a letter of recommendation for a student applying to a study-abroad program in Israel.