Message from the Chancellor: Support for Iranian Communities

Dear Riverbats,

Welcome back from the Thanksgiving holiday. I hope yours was filled with joy and moments of personal reflection. I come back reminded of the many reasons I have to give thanks, including those that can be easy to overlook — our personal freedoms and basic human rights. 

I’ve been following the events happening in Iran. I want you to know that Austin Community College District condemns these painful acts of violence and stands in full support of our Iranian community and those with ties to Iran who are affected. While this may feel like it’s happening a world away, the reality is, it’s not. It is impacting our family here at ACC. 

As an institution of higher education and a home to one of the first Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Centers in the nation, it is on us to pull together during difficult times and confront ethnic, religious, and racial hatred and engage in healing conversations. 

On December 6, 2022 — our TRHT Center, along with our Center for Peace & Conflict Studies, will co-host an important conversation to learn more about the challenges our Iranian communities are facing and understand ways in which we can show our support.

If you can, I encourage you to join the conversation. The event will include tea and Iranian pastries, a performance from esteemed, local Iranian musician Mohammad Firoozi, and conversation. You will find more information on the TRHT webpage

You can also hear from some of our students who are raising their voices about the injustices happening in Iran. 

Tomorrow, the City of Austin will present a proclamation in support of Iranian women and allies. ACC will be there. One of our students, along with our Dean of Health Sciences and the Director of our Center for Peace & Conflict Studies, have been invited to help receive the proclamation and give remarks. Last month, at the reopening of our Rio Grande Campus, another student shared her journey. Mayhasadat Minoneshan moved from Iran to Austin a year ago. She enrolled at ACC, completed our ESOL program, started her degree track in Business Administration, and is now on her way toward graduation. You can listen to her speech here around the 30-minute mark. These are students who are taking steps to make the impossible possible. 

I’m immensely proud of this Riverbat community and the work we do every day to ensure equity and inclusion for everyone. I see the work you do to provide an environment where all feel safe and welcomed and where we can embrace our community’s diversity and differences. 

To our students, staff, and faculty affected by the events in Iran, I encourage you to reach out for support. ACC offers resources for students and employees. Students, our counselors are available to listen and support you. Employees, counselors are available through our Employee Assistance Program

The fight for human rights permeates far beyond Iran. It is an issue we should all care about and support. 


Richard M. Rhodes, Ph.D.


Austin Community College District

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