In an unprecedented act, renowned social psychologist and current President of Yale University, Peter Salovey, issued a statement on November 9th, 2022 condemning the violence perpetrated in the ongoing protests in Iran.
Salovey’s message is a direct response to a petition signed by 500 Yale faculty members addressing the ongoing events in Iran, highlighting the Iranian government’s attacks on academic institutions such as Sharif University, hospitals and the massacre of the Friday worshippers in Zahedan.
The letter signed and addressed to President Salovey applauds the bravery of the protestors and announces its support for Yale community members affected by the violent response of the state to the events unravelling in Iran.
President Salovey writes:
The letter was presented to President Salovey by a group of Iranian and Iranian-American members of the university, including history professor Abbas Amanat and medical sciences professor, Asghar Rastegar.
Since the start of the uprising following the government murder of Zhina Mahsa Amini in Saqqez, members of the Yale community, including students and scholars, have made regular efforts to raise awareness and demonstrate solidarity with the people of Iran.
Outside Iran, a great number of joint statements have been circulated and signed by academic faculty and students in solidarity with the people and students of Iran, however, President Salovey’s message is a first at the executive level.
The condemnation of an external country or entity at the executive level is a rare occasion for most universities, especially amongst Ivy league institutions like Yale.
President Salovey’s statement is an exemplary act for higher level executives at academic institutions as well as government leaders around the world:
The nationwide protests in Iran have not ebbed since the murder of Zhina Mahsa Amini 2 months ago. According to Iran Human Rights (IHRNGO), at least 326 people, including 43 children have been killed by security forces.
According to human rights organisations in Iran, more than 15,000 people have been arrested since the beginning of the protests. In addition to violent beatings, detained protestors are at risk of sham trials that can result in a fine, prison sentence or even the death sentence under a judicial system aimed at protecting the Islamic Republic.