Published October 17, 2022
Dear university community,
As we learn about the increasing civil unrest and violent crackdowns against protestors in Iran, I would like to express our university’s solidarity with UB’s Iranian students and faculty as well as our concern for the safety and liberty of their loved ones in their home country.
Since the September 16th death of Mahsa Amini while in custody of Iran’s morality police, demonstrators in Iran have been met with severe repression by Iranian authorities. As a global scholarly community that cherishes values of free speech and social justice, we condemn the state’s violence against these brave Iranian people—many of them university students—who are standing up for women’s rights and self-determination.
Universities should always serve as bastions of knowledge and inquiry. Students should always be encouraged to use their voice and their talents for a just and equitable world. To read of prestigious Sharif University being described as a “war zone” where police beat, arrested and shot peacefully protesting students with rubber bullets is profoundly disturbing. We were outraged to learn that universities across the Kurdish region of Iran had been closed in the state’s attempt to quell students calling for human rights and dignity. These harsh realities stand in sharp relief to the academic freedoms we enjoy every day.
In the protests that have coalesced around Mahsa Amini’s death, it has been estimated that more than 200 demonstrators—including children—have been killed in Iran. Just as we condemn this brutality, we link arms with our Iranian students and faculty under the slogan “women, life, freedom.”
Satish K. Tripathi