Outreach to Iranian and other impacted Cal communities

Vice Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion Dania Matos and Stephen Sutton, vice chancellor for student affairs, sent the following message to Iranian students, staff and faculty on Friday: 

As you may know from recent media coverage, there have been mass protests in Iran related to the death of an Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini. As her story continues to dominate headlines, we acknowledge there are concerns about the impact it may have on those of Iranian descent, and those with ties to Iran or other parts of the Middle East — especially those of you with family in Iran who you may not be able to reach right now. Please know the Divisions of Equity & Inclusion and Student Affairs are here if you need anything: vcei@berkeley.edu or vcsa@berkeley.edu.

You, the students, staff and faculty of Iranian descent, and those with ties to Iran and other parts of the Middle East are invaluable members of our Berkeley community. You might be looking for resources, ways to connect or for ways to get or lend support. Here are a few that we know about:

  • Vigil tonight: This message from event organizers was shared with members of the community: “Berkeley students, Middle Eastern and North African Law Students Association (MENASLA), and Middle East Matters, a youth-run organization dedicated to raising awareness about various social issues in the Middle East, are hosting a candlelight vigil at 6:30 p.m. You are invited to honor Mahsa (Zhina) Amini’s life and encouraged to stand in solidarity with the women of Iran.” The vigil will take place in front of Wheeler Hall (with some making their way over from Sproul Plaza). “The vigil is open to everyone, Iranians or non-Iranians, who wish to show their support.”
  • General support: We are committed to your well-being. For additional student resources and support getting connected, contact deanofstudents@berkeley.edu. We encourage you to take this opportunity to reflect on your personal well-being as you try to complete papers and projects while preparing for final exams. Visit the Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Students’ Well Being resource (deanofstudents.berkeley.edu/well-being), which provides more information about holistic wellness resources across campus.
  • Mental health support (Students): Campus counselors at University Health Services at the Tang Center are available on a drop-in basis for urgent concerns. Visit the Counseling website, call (510) 642-9494, or, when the Tang Center is closed, call the after hours counseling line (855) 817-5667.
  • Mental health support (Staff/Faculty): Be Well at Work – Employee Assistance provides free, confidential counseling and referrals for staff. To schedule an appointment with an Employee Assistance counselor, please contact 510-643-7754 or email employeeassistance@berkeley.edu.
  • Financial student support: Should you need an emergency loan, please visit financialaid.berkeley.edu/short-term-emergency-loan. If you need assistance, please contact studentcentral.berkeley.edu/contact.
  • Student Legal Services support: 510-642-3916, sa.berkeley.edu/legal. Advises undergraduate, graduate and professional school students regarding their legal questions, rights, and obligations.
  • Student Organizations: Our campus has numerous and diverse student organizations that students may wish to get involved in. You can explore at callink.berkeley.edu.
  • SSWANA Initiative: The South, Southwest Asian, and North African Initiative (SSWANA) seeks to provide personalized access to resources on campus, accessible programming, promote cross-cultural community building, and advocate for social justice in SSWANA communities through education and empowerment.
  • Staff Organizations: The Middle Eastern, South Asian, and North African Staff Organization (MENASA) is also a resource for staff.

We invite you to share this message of support with your networks and people; please take care of yourselves and each other.

In solidarity and community,

Dania Matos, JD (she/her/ella)
Vice Chancellor, Equity & Inclusion

Stephen C. Sutton, Ed.D. (he/him/his)
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs