This study examines the relationship between institutional autonomy and the security of higher education institutions from violent and coercive attacks. The paper includes a review of the limited literature available, as well as a series of examples illustrating different forms of attacks. These include arrests related to classroom content in Zimbabwe, sectarian divisions in Iraq, impunity for murders of academics in Pakistan, and physical intimidation on campuses in Tunisia. The study suggests that institutional autonomy plays a direct and indirect protective function.
Following the Iranian revolution of 1979, due to their affiliation with political or religious groups, a great number of Iranian students were temporarily or permanently deprived of their right to education. Many students were expelled from university for membership in non-Islamic groups. In recent years the number of students whom organizations under the supervision and control of the Iranian regime has banned or “starred” from education has increased dramatically.