Scholars at Risk and Scholars Rescue Fund letter

Dear colleagues, find

As you are most likely aware, over the summer a failed coup attempt in Turkey has led to an unprecedented crackdown on academic freedom in that country. Thousands of professors and teachers have been fired from their jobs, arrested, and/or threatened with prosecution in trials which will most likely fail to meet even the most minimum international standards of fairness.

Sadly, the persecution of Turkish academics is not an aberration; around the world the number of scholars at risk of being fired, arrested, prosecuted, imprisoned and worse because of their political or religious beliefs or scholarship, or even unproven allegations about them, is increasing. Countries like Syria and Iraq have also seen mass persecution and, along with it, the flight of academics en mass. These colleagues—our colleagues—include some of the brightest and most creative minds in their fields. While most wish for nothing more than to return home as soon as possible, all could be making significant contributions to our profession if given the opportunity.

Recognizing this situation, two organizations, Scholars at Risk (SAR) and Scholars Rescue Fund (SRF), have created programs to help scholars from the regions most devastated by war and authoritarianism who face demonstrable risks to their freedom and/or lives, to find temporary positions in the United States and Europe. In particular, they have created a database of vetted scholars whom they are trying to place.

We ask that our members and Faculty Association boards consider working with campus leaders to consult the SAR and SRF lists to identify scholars they could host, particularly when regular faculty go on leave or sabbatical, without disadvantaging non tenure track faculty. The SRF list is at http://www.scholarrescuefund.org/hosts/scholars-seeking-placement and the SAR list is at https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/actions/host-a-scholar/.

Carleton University and the University of Ottawa have set up a joint program to co-host SAR scholars in which the university administration is providing matching funds to faculty donations (http://carleton.ca/provost/2016/contribute-to-the-scholar-at-risk-campaign/), which could serve as a model at UC.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. For further information please contact Mark LeVine <mlevine@uci.edu> or Claudio Fogu <cfogu@frit.ucsb.edu>

PS: If you wish to support SAR and/or SRF personally, please go to: https://salsa4.salsalabs.com/o/50943/donate_page/givetoday (SAR); http://www.iie.org/Give-to-IIE/Where-To-Give/Scholar-Rescue-Fund (SRF).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *