From obtaining a passport and paperwork to making sure you have the proper credits, planning for studying or teaching abroad can be a complicated task. But students and faculty should add one more item to their to-do list before they leave: learning about their rights abroad.
That’s why FIRE has just launched a new resource that maps American universities’ overseas satellite campuses, their written commitments (if any) to academic and expressive freedoms, and which American accreditors recognize them. Additionally, with this map you can find each country’s Freedom House Score alongside the American campuses operating there. These scores, created by watchdog organization Freedom House, can give students and faculty a better understanding of the political rights and civil liberties that they can expect when abroad.
In recent years, FIRE has observed and expressed concern over the tension between universities promising rights to their communities and censorship imposed by foreign countries where satellite campuses are located.
For example in 2018, Durham University doctoral student Matthew Hedges spent months in prison in the United Arab Emirates after being arrested on dubious spying charges while conducting research in the country. This summer, FIRE wrote to the American University in Cairo regarding a professor whose chaired professorship was revoked after refusing to have his lectures pre-approved by a donor. And just last month, Scholars at Risk issued a report detailing the extent to which higher education, including at satellite campuses, suffers in China because of the country’s stranglehold on expressive rights.
With this map, those interested in attending or teaching on satellite campuses can find valuable information regarding their rights when abroad and better prepare for what might be in store for them.
This map is a work in progress and may not currently list every satellite campus. If your campus is missing from this map, let FIRE know at firstname.lastname@example.org.