Faculty Member Dismissed for Publishing Articles
Seyed Hossein Javdani, a history lecturer at Payame Noor University in Mashad, who was banned from teaching in the university for writing critical articles, told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about how he was informed about his teaching ban. “According to the academic process in Iran, before the start of each term the faculty is contacted and informed about the courses they will be teaching. But since I was not contacted, after a while I made an inquiry to the director of our group. He said ‘the University Security Unit has asked that no courses be assigned to you to teach’ and that I have to resolve the issue myself with the Security Unit. So I went to the University Security Unit and they told me that the orders to assign no course units to me had come from security organizations due to various articles that I had written in various websites,” he told the Campaign.
Javdani noted that being banned from teaching by the Ministry of Intelligence has nothing to do with a faculty member’s teaching qualities. “It is interesting that I have not even once talked about political issues of the country in my classrooms and I have been teaching completely within the professional framework. Even the University Security Unit admitted that no cases have been reported in which I had talked about politics in my classes, and in reality, my ban from teaching by the Ministry of Intelligence has been strictly because of writing articles outside of the university and not related to my function and duties in the university,” he said.
Javdani, a member of the Central Council of Khorasan’s Tahkim-e Vahdat Alumni Association (Advar) branch, and former Secretary of Tehran University’s Islamic Association of Democracy Seeking Students, noted that he was once before threatened with dismissal in the middle of last term because of articles he wrote. “Nothing happened last term and it stopped at threats. I wrote some articles before and after the presidential election. There weren’t that many of them, but unfortunately, I was deprived from teaching for this reason. My articles after the election were mostly about the Green Movement and analysis of developments,” he said.
“I pursued the matter with the University’s Security Unit and insisted on my rights, but unfortunately I received no answers. I avoided talking about my teaching ban for two weeks, hoping that the problem would be resolved and that I could return to the University, but it was fruitless. Usually, when these things happen, there is not much room for pursuit. University security units cannot have a role in this and they have to carry out orders given to them from the outside. We report the problem as a form of protest, and usually, we cannot do anything more. The regime has power and it chooses to suppress. The other side who lacks power is suppressed,” Javdani said about his followup regarding the dismissal decision.
Asked whether he has other employment in order to earn his living, he told the Campaign, “I work in different places on a project basis. One of the reasons people are dismissed from their jobs is to put them under economic and financial pressure so that they stop their political activities.”
“I don’t have any verified news, but I have heard that three or four other professors have also been banned from teaching. When the Intelligence Ministry can so easily ban me from teaching by informing the University’s Security Unit, this must have happened to other faculty members too,” Javdani said about whether other faculty members of Payame Noor University had been treated similarly.
About student arrests at Payame Noor University Javdani said, “So far as I know, lately nobody has been arrested, but last year when pro-government member of parliament Rasaee came to the University and students objected to his presence, they banned 13 to 15 students of the Technical College for several terms.”
“This is a process every democracy seeking activist knows about, and will pay as the price for reaching democracy. I guess the least price would be losing a job. Many have been imprisoned or have lost their lives. Naturally, this process has to be followed in order to achieve democracy. The movement further confirms that it would not accept the current process. Circumstances will definitely change, but it’s not clear when. I hope this happens as soon as possible,” the lecturer, who himself was banned as a graduate student for his student activities at Tehran University, told the Campaign.