Medill celebrates Saberi’s freedom

Katie Glueck

Medill Prof. Jack Doppelt, who lead Medill’s efforts with the FreeRoxana campaign, spoke to reporters at the event. Sean Collins Walsh/The Daily Northwestern

Over sparkling grape juice and fresh fruit, students, faculty and members of the media toasted the release of imprisoned American journalist Roxana Saberi, Medill ’99, in the McCormick Tribune Center on Monday.

“We’re immensely proud of her and are all so relieved,” said Larry Stuelpnagel, an assistant professor at the Medill School of Journalism. “Roxana is a profile in courage. It took guts to go over there.”

Stuelpnagel was one of three faculty members who addressed the crowd of about 35 people. Medill Prof. Jack Doppelt and Medill Dean John Lavine also spoke, expressing hope that Saberi would come speak at Northwestern, perhaps even as a speaker during next year’s commencement.

“I’ve been breath-holding for a while,” Lavine said. “Is she really going to be released? Will they get rid of the charges? Allow her out of the country? It seems now that it’s ‘Yes’ to all of those, which makes this a real celebration. But we can’t forget why we were concerned and why we’re here. Roxana paid a terrific price for what we all care about.”

Shari Weiss, a Medill senior who helped organize a rally protesting Saberi’s imprisonment last month, said she was proud of Medill’s advocacy on behalf of Saberi.

“Medill really came together to show support,” Weiss said. “She should know she’s loved by her alma mater.”

For Tracy Fuad, an aspiring foreign correspondent, NU’s support for Saberi was comforting, she said.

“It was really reassuring to see Medill stand behind her,” the Weinberg sophomore said. “I feel like that maybe made a difference in getting her set free.”

Related:Saberi released on appeal 5/12/09Saberi supporters pin hopes on appeal 5/06/09Iranian appeals court to review Saberi case 5/05/09NU fasts in show of solidarity for Saberi 5/04/09ASG approves emergency legislation to encourage release of Roxana Saberi 4/29/09Students rally to support Medill alum Roxana Saberi 4/24/09Saberi sentenced to 8 years in prison 4/20/09Saberi awaits verdict of Iranian court 4/15/09Bienen works to release NU alumna detained in Iran 4/13/09 Medill alum Roxana Saberi reportedly charged with espionage in Iran 4/9/09Medill graduate being held in Iran prison 3/5/09