Constitutional Court of Colombia Reinstates Professor Fired for Denouncing Cases of Sexual Harassment in Campus

The Court analyzed the constitutionality of the dismissal of a professor by the Universidad de Ibagué, due to her actions to address cases of violence against women (VAW) and sexual harassment in campus.

The Court focused the decision as a case between the autonomy of the university and freedom of expression, affirming that one of the purposes of said autonomy is to protect academic freedom.

The Court established that freedom of expression protects actions to address and prevent VAW. By firing a professor taking a stand against cases of VAW on campus, the University breached her right to non-discrimination and freedom of expression. The Court determined that discrimination based on gender constitutes a limit on university autonomy. 

The Court ordered the reinstatement of the professor to the University and exhorted the Ministry of Education to adopt specific regulations to address cases of VAW in all Universities.

Scholars at Risk Network and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre’s Human Rights Clinic submitted an amicus curiae for this case, focusing on limits of university autonomy and academic freedom.

The ruling is available in Spanish here.

The amicus submitted by Scholars At Risk and the HRREC Human Rights Clinic can be read here.

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