Despite the conclusion of the academic year and the absence of students in dormitories, repressive measures to summon and expel students persist in Iran.
Student activists have recently shed light on the three stages of student repression over the past decades, revealing the implementation of the “White Suppression” project by the security apparatus and university administrators.
The student union councils of Iran have reported the continuous practice of summoning students to disciplinary committees during the summer, even with reduced educational activities.
For instance, from July 1 to 9, authorities at Tehran’s Beheshti University of Medical Sciences summoned several students to the disciplinary committee, alleging violations of the dress code.
Students who attended these committee meetings expressed concerns over the lack of evidence or documentation provided by university authorities, who threatened them with expulsion, exile, and severe disciplinary penalties.
Moreover, they were required to sign a written commitment to adhere to the hijab dress code without being allowed to add a date to the pledge.
Apart from severe disciplinary actions, Beheshti University of Medical Sciences authorities warned students who failed to attend the disciplinary committee meetings of receiving heavy corrective orders.
This summer, summons were initiated following a list of students’ names sent by the Ministry of Health to universities for reprimand.
Such measures add to the climate of fear and uncertainty among students, further suppressing their freedom of expression and limiting their educational opportunities.
Al-Zahra University students have released an audio file detailing the extent of student repression since the recent protests that began in September of the previous year.
The protests erupted after the tragic death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini while in custody, triggering widespread public outrage and demonstrations.
The activists describe three distinct stages of student repression, with the current stage, labeled “white repression,” targeting protesting students.
The first stage involved the arrest of prominent activists and the identification of protesting students through various means, including image analysis, security reports, Twitter monitoring, and informants.
The second stage, which lasted from November to February, saw targeted arrests, altered disciplinary procedures, and unprecedented entry restrictions imposed on many students.
Surveillance cameras were installed extensively, and substantial deployment of security forces to universities occurred, while administrators who resisted cooperation were removed from their positions.
In the current stage, the past five months have witnessed what student activists call “white suppression.” The security apparatus, in collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Health and university administrators, intensified their efforts to suppress student activism.
Disciplinary committees have been widely activated, leading to the imposition of severe sentences on student activists. The regime’s issuance of amnesties for protesters, including some students, is seen as an attempt to minimize the cost of repression.
However, many previously arrested students faced further consequences, such as entry bans, study suspensions, deportation, and restricted access to dormitory facilities.
The ongoing summoning and expulsion of students in Iran, particularly during the summer, demonstrates the persistent repression they face.
The “White Suppression” project implemented by the security apparatus and university administrators has intensified the climate of fear and restricted students’ freedom of expression.
The history of student repression in Iran reveals a pattern of targeting and suppressing activism through various stages. The struggle for academic freedom and the right to express dissent continues to be a significant challenge for Iranian students.
Iran’s regime has a long history of repressing students and curbing academic freedom. The Iranian regime’s approach to controlling student activism can be traced back several decades.
Particularly after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, universities became a battleground for ideological control, leading to the suppression of dissenting voices among students.
Throughout the years, students who have expressed political or social concerns have faced severe consequences, including arrests, expulsions, and even imprisonment.
The regime’s repression of students has been marked by surveillance, intimidation, and the establishment of disciplinary committees to punish those who challenge the status quo.