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: February 11, 2023

Attack Types: Loss of Position

Institution(s):Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences

Region & Country:Southern Asia | Iran

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On February 11, 2023, it was reported that Hormozgan University of Medical Sciences (also referred to as Bandar Abbas University of Medical Sciences) had suspended a number of students for their alleged participation in protests over the death of a young woman who was in the custody of so-called “morality police.”

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.

Reports indicate that the university’s disciplinary committee ordered at least seven students suspended for periods ranging from half a year to two and a half years. According to The Independent, the suspension sentences had been reduced.

Since the protests began in September 2022, news outlets, human rights groups, and the Iranian Council of Student Unions have reported accounts of students being suspended or barred from entering their universities for their participation in the protest movement. Some of these universities reportedly include Allameh Tabataba’i University, Al-Zahra University, Guilan University, and Sharif University of Technology in Tehran.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by a university suspending students for their alleged participation in student protests. Higher education authorities should refrain from such disciplinary actions and respect students’ exercise of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, disciplinary actions intended to deter or punish organized student expression undermine academic freedom and democratic society generally.