Activities of the Office of Student Unity

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By Shirin Karimi (a reporter for Rooz News Agency)

Bahareh Hedayat, a central committee member of the student group Office for Student ‎Unity [i.e. ISU “Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat”] and former head of the organization’s ‎women’s commission, is a long-time and experienced member of this student group. We ‎spoke with her on the event of Student Day (December 7) about the OSU’s status. ‎

Rooz (R): Ms. Hedayat, how do you evaluate the Office for Student Unity’s performance ‎in the past three and a half years? ‎

Bahareh Hedayat (BH): Following the 2005 presidential election and Mr. Ahmadinejad’s ‎era, in light of conditions that emerged the environment has changed a lot compared to ‎before. As a result, we must have found new mechanisms to activate the new generation ‎that has entered our association, in order to both sustain the strengths of the ‎organization’s political activities and rejuvenate areas of activity that had been neglected ‎in the past. Activities in cultural and social areas were in that category and the ‎association’s performance in these areas has been much more palpable compared to ‎before. ‎


R: Can you provide some examples?‎

BH: The establishment of the “women’s commission” is one instance of this new ‎approach. The establishment of a student subgroup that focuses on women’s activities ‎and issues related to female students while at the same time being rooted in the student ‎movement, as far as I am aware, is unprecedented. Or, for example, I can not the ‎‎“consolidation of charity” initiative which began last year and focuses on alleviating ‎social epidemics. ‎

R: Meaning consolidating OSU’s presence in civil society?‎

BH: Meaning OSU’s consolidation of its fundamental base. We pursue the logical ‎continuation of two strategies of staying away from power and full criticism of power, ‎which were unveiled in 2005, and have emphasized civil society activism as our main ‎slogan.‎

R: You have attempted to redefine OSU’s mission in a way.‎

BH: Yes. We have revised the arrangement that planted OSU as an opposition group ‎confined to the political structure as well as its historic dimensions which defined it as a ‎governmental organization inside the university in the past three years. We have decided ‎to distance ourselves from these two definitions and change the public’s view of OSU. ‎We have attempted to improve our performance and I think we have been successful ‎considering the extreme oppression that we have experienced recently which is not ‎comparable to previous eras. ‎

R: The hot topic these days is that of the upcoming election and OSU has issued a ‎statement on this issue. Some interpret this statement as a kind of retreat from OSU’s ‎position four years ago to boycott the election.

BH: It is not at all like that. First of all, the decision to “boycott elections” was ratified ‎by people similar to the ones who currently serve at OSU’s central committee; meaning ‎that we see ourselves as involved and influential in making that decision and continue to ‎defend it. However, the issue involved now is that our decision to boycott was taken 3 ‎years ago and we must not logically analyze the situation again and take a new decision. ‎At the same time, because OSU is a bottom-up organization it must go through the ‎decision-making process anew every time. In this period, we first share our demands ‎with the candidates and make subsequent decisions based on the nature of their response.

[The above interview was published on 7 December 2008 under the title “We Must Give Students a Passing Grade” by Roozonline.com at: http://www.roozonline.com/english/archives/2008/12/we_must_give_students_a_passin.html. For an audio recording click here: http://www.talkr.com/app/text_to_audio.app?action=listen&mp3=http://www.talkr.com/audio/r/o/o/z/888096.mp3.]

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