On June 20, 2023, Alireza Baradaran Sherka reported on Twitter that the disciplinary committee at Amirkabir University of Technology had expelled him for his participation in the nationwide “Women, Life, Freedom” protests.
Sherka, a master’s student in aerospace, had been arrested in connection with the protest movement on October 30, 2022. In June 2023, he was reportedly formally expelled in retaliation for his protest activities. On June 20, he wrote on Twitter, “the reason for my dismissal was student political activity in the past years and participation in university protests in the Mahsa movement…my dismissal was finalized last week and I was prevented from entering the university and using amenities such as self-service and dormitory. It was done.” Students at the Tehran University of Arts reportedly protested Sherka’s expulsion the following Saturday.
Scholars at Risk is concerned about the expulsion of a student in retaliation for protest activity. 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.