University of Chicago receives backlash, threats over Institute of Politics panel on Iran protests

Liz Nagy Image
Thursday, October 20, 2022
UChicago receives backlash, threats over panel on Iran protests
The University of Chicago said it received backlash and a direct threat over an Institute of Politics panel on the women's protests in Iran.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The University of Chicago said it received repeated backlash and ultimately a direct threat over a panel discussion the Institute of Politics had planned about protests in Iran.

The Institute of Politics tweeted that their planned panel, "Taking it to the Streets: The Power of Iranian Women Now," elicited strong reactions on campus and online.

Protests have been raging across Iran for weeks after a woman arrested for not wearing a traditional hijab died in police custody.

Panelist and journalist Negar Mortazavi said in a tweet that backlash was aimed at her, accusing the Iranian American of ties to the Iranian government. Mortazavi has been vocal about her support for the largely female protests in her home country.

"But at the core of this is essentially a feminist uprising, a women's uprising against years of systemic oppression, discrimination, discriminatory laws against women and the violent enforcement of these laws," she said.

The panel discussion was moved online Tuesday, for the safety of students, staff, and panelists.

Simply changing the format instead of canceling, the university said, is part of a what they call a deep commitment to "upholding the rights of speakers, and those who disagree with speakers at the University, to express a wide range of views."