SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: January 26, 2023

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):Beheshti University Law School

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 26, 2023, the Iranian Students Union Council announced that Amir Nikpey, a legal sociology and legal anthropology professor at Beheshti University Law School had been dismissed for allegedly advocating for student protesters.

Starting on September 17, protests spread across Iran, including at various universities, following the death-in-custody of Jina Amini (also known as Mahsa Amini) after so-called “morality police” detained her. Police and security forces have responded to the protests with violence and arrests.

Nikpey is reportedly the fourth professor to be dismissed from the university in apparent connection to his alleged support for student protesters.

Scholars at Risk is concerned about a higher education institution dismissing faculty for exercising their right to freedom of expression — conduct that is expressly protected by international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Higher education officials should respect scholars’ exercise of such rights and refrain from disciplinary actions that punish or deter nonviolent expressive activity. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, disciplinary actions intended to deter or punish support for student protests on campus undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.