The criminal trial of a senior Thai academic along with four others that commenced this July 2018 has thrown a sharp spotlight on conditions in Thailand’s universities since the military seized government there in 2014.
Dr Chayan Vaddhanaphuti, Director of the Regional Centre for Social Science and Sustainable Department at Chiang Mai University, three students and a translator are being tried for violating an army order against political assemblies. Their criminal trial arises from a small protest against the monitoring and recording by state officers of proceedings at the International Thai Studies Conference held at Chiang Mai University in July 2017. Participants at the conference held signs reading “an academic forum is not a military camp”.
What does this criminal case indicate about the state of academic freedom under military dictatorship in Thailand today? What part can scholars abroad, including in Australia, play in supporting embattled counterparts in Thailand? The speakers at this roundtable will address these questions, and also discuss and welcome audience members’ ideas on the role of the Australian university in response to threats to academic freedom at home and overseas, with special reference to the recent ANU Statement on Academic Freedom.