Mansfield University joins the Scholars at Risk Network

MANSFIELD — Mansfield University has joined Scholars at Risk (SAR), a network of over 400 higher education institutions in 39 countries working to protect threatened scholars, prevent attacks on higher education and promote academic freedom.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our students, faculty and staff,” interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs John M. Ulrich, who is SAR primary representative at Mansfield, said. “Through our membership in Scholars at Risk, we are joining the fight to preserve academic freedom across the globe. We will have opportunities to host a visiting scholar, participate in the network’s speaker series and engage our students in research, advocacy and other learning experiences through SAR. Exposing our students to issues faced by threatened scholars from a variety of backgrounds demonstrates our commitment to diversity and to making a difference locally and globally.”

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,” SAR executive director Robert Quinn said. “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 from other countries by offering temporary research and teaching positions, monitoring and advocating against attacks on higher education, and-or conducting learning initiatives to promote academic freedom. In addition, faculty, staff and students at member institutions have the opportunity to engage in SAR activities, including:

• 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

• Engaging in a growing conversation around university values by attending SAR workshops and joining working groups

Mansfield’s students, faculty and staff are invited to learn more about Scholars at Risk and how to get involved by contacting Dr. Ulrich and signing up for SAR updates.

Mansfield University is the only member of Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education to belong to the Scholars at Risk network.