The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is now a sustaining member of Scholars at Risk (SAR), an international network of higher education institutions and associations dedicated to protecting scholars and promoting academic freedom around the world. A committee of faculty and students has been formally charged to guide and support the university’s efforts to host scholars affiliated with SAR for visits up to one year.

Colleen Murphy, the Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law, and director of the Women & Gender in Global Perspectives Program, chairs the Illinois Scholars at Risk committee (ISAR). The missions of ISAR and the Illinois Global Institute align as the institute supports faculty research on international themes in global, regional, and national contexts, and encourages research collaboration between scholars at Illinois and their peers throughout the world.

Over the past few years, the world has faced a sustained period of global challenges, political turmoil, and natural disasters that have dramatically impacted the ability for our international colleagues to engage in scholarly pursuits within their own countries. The university has committed funds to support departmental efforts in hosting visiting scholars at risk. With these funds, units will develop detailed plans for engaging, supporting, and mentoring  scholars. Each international scholar will work with an academic mentor, who will help connect the scholar risk to other units and understand their discipline or field in the United States.

Universities are uniquely placed to aid colleagues across the globe facing acute threats to their well-being and freedom. “Hosting scholars enriches departmental and broader campus communities and contributes to public education and engagement,” wrote Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost William Bernhard in a campuswide message about the program.

Organizations throughout the Champaign-Urbana community are providing assistance for visiting scholars. Information on a variety of resources, including child care, English classes, and health care can be found here. Champaign-based Fairlawn Real Estate, owned by Chris and Gozen Hartman (BS, 2001, Civil Engineering), is providing housing for program scholars at a reduced rate. The number of apartments will be determined by ISAR needs and residence availability. “The Illinois Scholars at Risk Program is an initiative envisioned to involve community-campus partnerships,” said Murphy. We are grateful for the support Fairlawn has shown for the initiative and for scholars at risk globally.”

To learn more about Illinois Scholars at Risk and ways to participate or offer support, click here, or contact either Professor Colleen Murphy ( or Dr. Rachel Stauffer (

By Terri Gitler

November 7, 2022