Thai Student Activist Released on Bail, Detained Again

A hunger-striking student activist in Thailand was released on bail Friday only to be detained again on another charge, the Bangkok Post reported.

Jatupat Boonpattararaksa, a student at Khon Kaen University, was released on bail in relation to charges that he violated the country’s referendum law by distributing pamphlets critical of a draft constitution in advance of an Aug. 7 vote on the document. Shortly after his release on Friday, Boonpattararaksa was detained again on charges of violating a ban on political gatherings in March 2015.

UPDATE: The Bangkok-based Khaosod reported that Boonpattararaksa was freed on bail today -- "for real this time." 

Thailand has been ruled by a military junta since a successful coup in May 2014. Human rights groups including Amnesty International and Scholars at Risk have written in recent weeks in support of Boonpattararaksa and another student activist, Wasin Prommanee, with whom he was reportedly arrested Aug. 6. Human Rights Watch issued a statement last week raising concerns about the hunger-striking Boonpattararaksa's health and calling for the military junta to release him "and other activists who peacefully protested the proposed constitution."

In response to Inside Higher Ed's inquiry about the student activists' cases, Thanida Menasavet, of Thailand's embassy in Washington, D.C., wrote, "As with any countries [sic], Thailand is trying to strike a balance between civil rights and the need to uphold public order. Over the past years, we have been faced with instability and a challenge to the rule of law. It is against this backdrop that we are now working hard to move our country forward to achieve social reconciliation and sustainable democracy. For those who break the law, we will ensure that they are treated with due respect to their rights and their medical and other needs attended."

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Germany Proposes Ban on Islamic Face Veils in Universities

Germany’s interior minister on Friday proposed banning full face veils worn by some Muslim women, The New York Times reported. The ban would apply to universities and schools, when driving, in court, or at passport control checkpoints.

A similar law passed in 2010 in France and justified on public safety grounds has been criticized for further marginalizing Muslim women. The German interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, said that women who wish to wear full face veils should not teach or work as civil servants.

“We want to make it a legal requirement to show your face in places where that is necessary for the cohesion of our society,” he said.

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South African universities poised for another battle on tuition


Institutions say they need the revenue, but protests are likely if any increases go forward.

Ontario college to stop operating male-only campus in Saudi Arabia

Ontario college cites financial reasons in withdrawing from its male-only campus in Saudi Arabia, but others, citing human rights grounds, question the original decision to be there.

5,300 Turkish Academics and Administrators Suspended

Turkey’s Council of Higher Education announced Friday that a total of 5,342 university employees have been suspended since the July 15 coup attempt, according to reports in the Daily Sabah and The Hurriyet Daily News. A total of 4,225 academics and 1,117 administrative staff at public and private universities have reportedly been suspended from their positions as part of the government’s investigations into the failed coup. Many international higher education groups have expressed concerns about the government's purges of the higher education sector.

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Recent abductions highlight risks facing AU Afghanistan

Kidnapping of two faculty members at the American University of Afghanistan renews attention on the risks confronting universities in conflict zones.

Texas Tech to Open Costa Rica Campus

Texas Tech University announced plans Thursday to open a branch campus in San José, Costa Rica, in partnership with the Promerica Group, a conglomerate of financial companies located in Central and South America. The campus is scheduled to open in spring 2018 upon approval by the university’s accreditor. Initial degree offerings will include B.S. degrees in computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, mathematics, and restaurant, hotel and institutional management, as well as two certificate programs: an undergraduate certificate in restaurant, hotel and institutional management and a graduate certificate in essentials of business.

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Consulting group identifies global 'challenger' universities


Analysis seeks to identify universities that will challenge the global status quo in higher education.

Scam Could Cost U Washington Chinese Students $1M

A scam may have cost 90 Chinese students at the University of Washington up to $1 million, The Seattle Times reported. University police officials said a student from China spread word on a Chinese social media website that students could save about $600 on tuition for the summer by paying their tuition bill through an intermediary. Students paid but the money did not go to the university and now the students must pay again. Some students may have been duped into spreading word about the alleged discount without knowing that it was fake.

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American U of Afghanistan Confirms Abductions

The American University of Afghanistan this morning confirmed that two of its faculty members were abducted on Sunday. The university had not previously commented on the news reports about the abductions. The university was closed Monday and today. A statement from the university said it planned to resume normal operations Wednesday. University leaders worked after the abductions "to review the security situation and to put in place additional precautionary measures," the statement said. No details were provided about those who were abducted, although press reports have indicated that one is an American and the other is an Australian.

The university is unique in Afghanistan, offering a private, American-style, coeducational college program.

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