To the Iranian students and scholars at UConn,
Since September 16th, we have observed with concern the Iranian government’s harsh and violent response to the protests that have occurred in more than 170 cities in that country in response to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody. In less than a month, hundreds of people have been killed and thousands arrested.
This situation is of particular significance to our community, not only because of the many students, faculty, and staff members of Iranian descent at UConn, but because the higher education community of Iran has been at the forefront of these protests. Students and faculty members in Iran have begun strikes at more than 100 universities, led largely by courageous women and youth, and reflecting a history of Iranian university student leadership.
Tragically, the Iranian government has responded to these peaceful demonstrations with brutality and repressive measures, with hundreds of students and professors being assaulted, and thousands being arrested.
University campuses around the world have traditionally been places where freedom of speech and expression have been nurtured and protected. An attack on the freedom of one university communities is an attack on the freedom of all.
UConn has a long and vital history of promoting human rights and human freedom. Our values as a public institution of higher education compel us to condemn without resolution the brutal crackdown on the demonstrators in Iran, both within and without the boundaries of university campuses.
We stand in solidarity with you, our Iranian students and scholars, and share your anguish over the treatment of family, friends, and peers in Iran. There has already been one student-organized demonstration on campus in support of the protests in Iran, and we pledge to provide a safe and supportive environment for students, faculty, and staff members to voice their concerns, express their opinions, and offer their perspectives on the situation in Iran.
These values – free expression, human rights, solidarity with our peers – are non-negotiable for UConn. We will do everything in our ability to support them, and to create an environment in our University where they can thrive. The courage of Iranian students, faculty members, and citizens should be an inspiration to us all, and a reminder of how precious – and how vulnerable – our freedoms are.
Finally, we want to remind you of the many resources at UConn available for support and connection, which include the Center for International Students and Scholars, Middle Eastern Cultural Programs, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Dean of Students Office, and The Graduate School, SHAW-Mental Health and the Employee Assistance Program for staff. We encourage you to connect with these programs and offices for support.
Radenka Maric, President
Anne D’Alleva, Interim Provost
Daniel Weiner, Vice President for Global Affairs