Iran: Rohani dismisses Ahmadinejad's 'professor oppressor'
For eight years, Sadr-Al Din Shariati controlled Iran's Allameh Tabataba’i University with an iron fist – dismissing students, faculty for political activities, introducing gender segregation. Now Rohani responds to student protest, dismissing Teheran's mean dean
Dr. Sadr-Al Din Shariati, the dean of Tehran's Allameh Tabataba’i University, is not well known outside of Iran, however, to the average Iranian he is not only famous but infamous for his iron fisted rule.
For the last eight years, Shariati has implemented a reign of terror in the university, orchestrating academic purges, firing professors and faculty members as well as sending away hundreds of students for political activity which were deemed inappropriate by former-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime.
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Last month the university's management decreed that starting at the beginning of the school year, studies in the university will be gender segregated – with women and men studying in different classrooms.
IHassan Rohani (L), Dr. Sadr-Al Din Shariati (R) (Photo: AP)
Shariati expressed satisfaction from the call, and claimed that it would lead to a grade hike among both female and male students. Shariati furthered stressed that Allameh Tabataba’i's students have also expressed content from the decision.
Unfortunately for him, the latter part of his claim seemed to be false: Students at the university were anything but content from the new directive and since August hundreds of them began calling on the university to fire the mean dean which they dub 'professor oppressor'.
Gender segregation at Allameh Tabataba’i University
The students penned a sharply worded letter to Iran's President Hassan Rohani, slamming Shariati's policy, claiming it "separates between the genders and damages the quality of studies." The students demanded that Rohani make good on a campaign promise to ensure a freer and more open atmosphere on campuses, or in other words – fire Dean Shariati.
The demand did not fall on deaf ears, and at the beginning of the month a superintendent from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research announced that the hardliner dean would be dismissed and in his place Hossein Salimi would serve as the university's president. Students expressed satisfaction at the move, not just for the ouster of their oppressive dean, but also for what was perceived as attentiveness on the part of the Rohani's administration.
Salimi told the Iranian news agency ISNA the topping his priority as the university's new head is mending the sour relations between students and the facility's faculty. Nonetheless, Shariati's dismissal did not go over quietly within Iran's leadership, specifically with hawkish conservatives who claimed the move was too drastic.
To a certain extent they were right, because Iran's students seemed to have internalized that someone is listening; just last week additional demands were raised in a protest attended by some 70 students in which the students beseeched the academic institute to reinstate those students thrown out during Shariati's tenure of terror.
A number of days afterwards, the same superintend who fired Shariati announced that all such students will be returned to their studies.
In an announcement by the ministry afterwards, it reiterated its commitment to putting an end to the practice of canceling degrees and dismissing students for non-academic reasons.
To add to the positive atmosphere, new Dean Salimi announced a number of days ago that all faculty members forced to take an early pension or were fired by Shariati would be allowed to return to their posts if they so desire.
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