Helen V. Milner, Mark A. Boyer, & Erin Kristin Jenne posted in Statements
on February 19, 2021
The International Studies Association, which represents thousands of international relations scholars around the world, condemns the deportation of Professor Pal Ahluwalia, Vice-chancellor of the University of the South Pacific, by Fijian authorities. In a dramatic home arrest on February 3, 2021, Professor Ahluwalia’s work permit was revoked, and he and his wife were removed from their home and flown to Brisbane, Australia under armed military guard. According to international news agencies, the decision is in retaliation for Professor Ahluwalia blowing the whistle on corrupt practices and financial mismanagement within the university. The revocation of Professor Ahluwalia’s work permit, in apparent disregard of due process, seriously constrains his ability to carry out his duties as Vice-Chancellor. If politically-motivated, such interference in the operation of a university undermines university autonomy, an important principle of academic freedom. Moreover, transparency and accountability are essential in the academic community’s efforts to ensure that institutions of higher education are conducted for the common good. ISA calls on the Fijian government to reinstate Professor Ahluwalia’s work permit and allow him to return to his teaching post in Fiji.