Statement from President Meric Gertler on the crisis in Iran

The following is a statement from University of Toronto President Meric Gertler regarding the crisis in Iran. This statement is also available on the office of the President’s website here.

October 5, 2022

Members of the University of Toronto community have been following the news from Iran with outrage and profound sadness since the killing of Mahsa Amini last month while in the custody of the government’s ‘morality police’. In recent days, reports of police brutality and other egregious human rights violations against student protesters at Iranian universities have deepened our concerns.

Such actions are anathema to us, as members of a community founded on the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression. On behalf of the U of T community, I condemn the systemic violations of the rights of women that led to Mahsa Amini’s death. I reiterate our solemn commitment to the rights of women and to human rights in general. And I wish to express our solidarity with all those speaking out for justice in this crisis. I would also like to draw your attention to a statement issued today by Universities Canada, of which I am Chair, as well as the statement issued last week by Professor Kelly Hannah-Moffat, U of T’s Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture.

The University of Toronto is ready to help support students in Iran seeking refuge or asylum in Canada who wish to continue their studies at U of T. We will provide bursaries to them through our Scholars at Risk Award Program, and we will match all donations to the program up to $1 million. On top of this, the University will provide needs-based awards to international students from Iran who have been admitted to U of T, through the Iranian Student Memorial Scholarship Fund, which we established in 2020 in honour of the victims of Flight PS752. We will also continue working with our government partners to find pathways for student refugees and asylum seekers to come to Canada.

To all members of the U of T community – and especially our students, faculty, librarians, staff and alumni who are from Iran or of Iranian heritage – I appreciate that this is an extremely difficult time. If you need support and/or consideration in your studies, or would like assistance of any kind, please do not hesitate to make use of the services provided through the University, listed below.

Meric S. Gertler


Academic support services and/or considerations

Undergraduate students

Graduate students

Personal support services

All students

  • Mental Health Portal
  • My SSP (24/7 support via phone or chat. You may request to speak with an Iranian counsellor and/or a counsellor who speaks Farsi)

All members of the community

Faculty, librarians and staff