Following the third killing of a Chinese graduate student in the last two years, the University of Southern California is stepping up security efforts, The Los Angeles Times reported. The university will require safety training for all international students, and will instruct campus police about international students and their cultures. Further, unarmed security "ambassadors" who patrol and help students will now be used in the summer months, not just during the academic year.
The clashes between Israel and Hamas over the last month have left colleges and universities considering whether to bring students and faculty members there home. Institutions will face a new set of decisions with students about to depart for the region. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst has announced it will suspend study abroad to Israel in the fall, The Republican reported. Smith College has decided not to bar study abroad in Israel, but will require students and their families to sign an additional waiver.
The American University of Iraq at Sulaimani is located in the region of the country that is under the control of a Kurdish government, which has until recently been relatively free of the strife present in much of the rest of Iraq. In the last week, however, the forces of the ISIS group (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) have launched attacks in the Kurdish region, although not near the university. Dawn Dekle, president of the university, sent an email to the campus Saturday in which she noted that the campus has been safe, and that other Kurdish regions appear to be getting more stable in the wake of U.S. air attacks on ISIS forces. And she said that the university does not currently have plans to call off either summer or fall programs.
But she urged people to take extra precautions, and she noted that both the British and American governments have advised citizens against traveling to the area. "It is up to each individual employee to make a personal decision to continue teaching and working," she wrote. "Your safety is AUIS’s first priority." Dekle noted that more security steps will be announced shortly, and that the university does have an evacuation plan if it is needed in a "worst-case scenario."
A university spokeswoman said via email that no faculty members currently on campus have left and that only one who has been away has called off plans to return.
A vocational college in Gaza is reporting widespread damage to its facilities as a result of the war with Israel, Al-FanarMedia reported. An administrative deputy for the University College of Applied Sciences, Mahmoud Hamid, said the shelling appeared to directly target college buildings. The central administrative building was reportedly destroyed, as was a conference hall and some laboratories and classrooms. The Israeli Defense Forces could not immediately be reached for comment.
More than 100 Middle East Studies scholars and librarians have signed a letter calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions due to concerns about Israel’s policies in Gaza and “the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in the occupation and oppression of Palestinians.”
"Following in the footsteps of the growing number of U.S. academic associations that have endorsed boycott resolutions,we call on our colleagues in Middle East Studies to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and we pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel,” states the letter, which has been posted on Jadaliyya.
Six Tuskegee University students participating in a study abroad program in Monrovia have had their travel plans back from Liberia indefinitely delayed due to the Ebola outbreak in the country. A university statement noted that British Airways has suspended flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone through the end of August and said, of the students, that “the matter of when they will be able to leave Liberia is still ongoing.” The university reported that the students are in good health and good spirits and in a safe location.
South Korea's Duksung Women's University has withdrawn invitations to three Nigerian students to attend a conference attracting students from many countries, Reuters reported. The university said that it "politely withdrew" the invitations after a student at the university urged that the entire conference be called off to avoid the spread of Ebola. The university is going ahead with the conference, including 28 students from Africa.