Iranian students from NYU, Columbia refute New York Times reporting

Students from NYU and Columbia University protested the publication’s recent coverage of the Iranian human rights movement on Wednesday, Dec. 7. 

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Roksaneh Salartash

Feature: Students protest against the Iranian government in front of The New York Times building located at 242 W. 41st St. (Roksaneh Salartash for WSN)

Yezen Saadah, Deputy News Editor

Around 50 students from NYU and Columbia University gathered in front of The New York Times headquarters in solidarity with a global movement to secure human rights in Iran on Wednesday, Dec. 7. The protest fell on Student Day in Iran, the anniversary of the police killing of three students at the University of Tehran in 1953.

“As we have seen in the current uprising, students from elementary school to university in Iran have faced violence from the regime just for speaking up,” said Roksaneh Salartash, a Persian Cultural Society member and Gallatin sophomore. “Their campuses and classrooms have turned into war zones. I believe it is our duty to stand in solidarity with these brave students, especially at a global university like NYU.”

Protests have erupted in Iran and around the world since the death of Mahsa Amini — a 22-year-old Iranian woman who was killed while in police custody in Tehran in early September. Demonstrators continue to chant the now well-known slogan, “Woman. Life. Freedom,” which is an expression of their call for human rights in Iran.

NYU’s Persian Cultural Society collaborated with Iranian students from Columbia to organize the protest. The group said the demonstration was held outside of The New York Times headquarters to accuse the news outlet of perpetuating false narratives about the movement.

An image of multiple people standing under gray scaffolding. They are wearing yellow, black, and white shirts, and they hold white signs. Behind them, there is a gray building for The New York Times.
(Roksaneh Salartash for WSN)

“The publication claimed that the main reason for the uprising was economic conflict, and stated that the country’s morality police was disbanded, both of which are not true,” Salartash said. “Especially in a movement that depends on media from outside Iran to hold the regime accountable, the spread of misinformation is extremely harmful.”

Salartash said that one of her professors, who teaches Persian language and literature, canceled her classes on Student Day to allow students to attend the protest. She emphasized the importance of promoting Iranian demonstrations in New York City and helping to create a welcoming community at the university.

Tara Sabet, an LS sophomore and a member of the Persian Cultural Society, emphasized that Iranian students outside of Iran have the privilege of speaking out against the government more so than those living within the country.

“The significance of this day is that it uplifts students in a country that is actively persecuting its students for exercising a right that is not given to them, but very much should be — the right to protest and demand change when they recognize mistreatment and abuse on behalf of its authoritative power,” Sabet said. “I hope our voices are heard and that it shows that all words have power and consequences, especially the false words from a trusted news outlet in the heart of this big city.”   

Contact Yezen Saadah [email protected]