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Source: RFE/RL

Dec 12, 2023

Iranian Students Face Disciplinary Action After Protests Over Faculty Comments

By RFE/RL's Radio Farda

The Tehran University disciplinary committee has reportedly initiated proceedings against at least 30 students from its Faculty of Social Sciences, according to information released by the country's Student Guild Councils via their Telegram channel.

The move comes in the wake of a significant Student Day protest rally on December 7, where the students in question are alleged to have participated.

One of the reasons for the protest was the university's handling of an incident involving Gholamreza Jamshidi, the head of the Faculty of Sciences.

Last month, a video emerged on social media showing Jamshidi engaging in what was described as "profanity" directed at students and faculty.

Following the video's release and subsequent student demonstrations, including a sit-in at the Faculty of Social Sciences, there has been no formal apology or acceptance of responsibility from Jamshidi, the student groups said.

"Despite the public outcry and the evident distress caused to the students, the university has yet to take any action against Jamshidi,” the Guild added, highlighting what it calls a lack of accountability from university officials.

In the video in question, Jamshidi publicly insults students who had objected to the confiscation of another student's identification card.

He allegedly referred to the students as "prostitutes" and the Faculty of Social Sciences as a "brothel."

The Iranian Teachers Union's Coordination Council reported that, following a standoff with university security forces during a protest over the issue, the students' demands were partially met.

Student activists have highlighted the increasingly oppressive atmosphere within Iranian universities since the start of the new academic year.

This includes widespread summonses issued by intelligence and security agencies, disciplinary actions, temporary suspensions, and even expulsions of students and faculty members.

Universities and students have long been at the forefront of the struggle for greater social and political freedoms in Iran.

In 1999, students protested the closure of a reformist daily newspaper, prompting a brutal raid on the dorms of Tehran University that left one student dead.

Over the years, the authorities have arrested student activists and leaders, sentencing them to prison and banning them from studying.

The activist HRANA news agency says at least 700 university students have been arrested during the nationwide protests sparked by the September 2022 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody for allegedly breaking the country's hijab rule.

Many have faced sentences such as imprisonment and flogging, and dozens of students have been expelled from universities or suspended from their studies, as security forces try to stifle widespread dissent.

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda

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