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Letter to the FIFSW community from Interim Dean Charmaine Williams on the crisis in Iran


Dear FIFSW students, staff, faculty and instructors, 

As we all know, the media is filled with news of the unrest since the killing of Mahsa Amini, and the escalating human rights violations and threats that have followed. I know from conversations with many of you that we were glad to see this University step forward to address the crisis in the statement shared last week by University of Toronto President Meric Gertler. The Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work joins the U of T community in condemning the violent repression that has been taking place in Iran; we stand in solidarity with those who are speaking out for justice. 

We are aware of the difficulties of this time for many FIFSW students, as well as staff and others with personal ties to Iran. These are moments when it is important for us, as a community, to be mindful of the impact that such world events have on the people around us. I am hopeful that we will all make efforts to be supportive to people who are personally affected and, perhaps, carrying concerns or fears for people in their families and communities. Always remember that mental health support is available to all U of T students, staff and faculty members. We have listed these options below. 

The University has shared information about other supports available to students during this time. U of T’s School of Graduate Studies (SGS) is offering emergency grants for current graduate students in need, as well as interest-free loans for students with limited or restricted access to personal funds. Should you have questions about these measures, you can contact the Financial Aid & Advising Team at As you will have seen in President Gertler’s statement, U of T will also be providing bursaries to support students in Iran seeking refuge or asylum in Canada. 

As a Faculty and a leadership team, we are vigilant for opportunities to be responsive as well.  Please know that students in need of academic consideration are invited to connect with their instructors to discuss possibilities for allowances. The FIFSW will explore opportunities for facilitating access for students from Iran and will support admission deferrals for students who may need to alter their educational plans. We are also eager to create opportunities for dialogue and support within our community, and we welcome your ideas and participation. Please reach out to to share your suggestions. 

I encourage all of us to remain informed on the developments in Iran, how they have impacted and continue to impact our global community, and how they connect to social justice issues that are the concern of every social worker in every context. Our Faculty is distinguished by its engagement in international spaces and this is an important time to demonstrate our understanding of Social Work as a global profession with commitments to global human rights. 

Charmaine C. Williams
Interim Dean
Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

 Mental health resources 

 For students:   

For staff and faculty 

For all members of the U of T community