Monday, March 20, 2006

Yale Taliban round-up

For those who haven't been paying attention, an erstwhile spokesman for the Taliban is now a Yale student. (Chip Brown's sympathetic New York Times Magazine cover story broke the story--some of the letters in response were not so sympathetic.)

Nobody has covered the issue more thoroughly than John Fund. Scroll to the end of this post for links to and excerpts from the Fund coverage. And Fund says that "Thou Shalt Not Debate Public Issues at Yale" by Penraker is the best piece on the topic.

Now, some questions.

Will the episode affect applications to Yale? Perhaps:
Like many parents, I’ve devoted much time to figuring out which college would be best for my son. This week, I narrowed down the list: any school but Yale.
- Ann Morse

Even though she'd be a legacy, I don't think I'll encourage my daughter to apply to Yale.
- Yale alumnus Glenn Reynolds
Will it affect contributions to Yale? At least a little:
If you do have some connection with Yale, please tell them so in your letter and explain that you are withholding your donations until they end the disgrace of allowing America’s unrepentant enemy an opportunity which thousands of smart, deserving kids in Afghanistan, America or anywhere, who have been studying diligently instead of shilling for a brutal regime of retrograde, misogynist, terrorist-abetting, drug-running, Buddha-blasting, gay-murdering, freedom-hating tyrants, never received.

Feel free to point out the hyprocrisy of Yale’s decision to admit Sayeed Rahmatullah Hashemi, who supported a regime that killed homosexuals, stoned women, tortured/killed many, and destroyed Buddhas, even though Yale keeps ROTC off campus and files briefs with the Supreme Court protesting the military’s right to recruit on campus.

Most importantly, send your money somewhere else.
- Yale alumni Debbie Bookstaber and Clint Taylor
... [M]y alma mater will not be high on my giving list in this reunion year.
- Yale alumnus David M
Will it affect the faculty? At least one:
I do not care to have this fellow in my dining hall, my college, or my country.
- Yale student Daniel Gelernter [Note: this quotation was at first mis-attributed (here and in the source blog) to Yale Professor David Gelernter, Daniel's father.]
(By contrast, Yale lecturer Jim Sleeper reacted by attacking John Fund.)

Will the government intervene? We'll see:
Mr. Hashemi was an official spokesmand for the Taliban, which gave safe haven and other material support to Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, and continued to do so even after the terrorist attacs of September 11th. Yet the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) admitted him into the United States on an F-1 student visa. I would like to know what steps the Department of Homeland Security is taking to determine whether Mr. Hashemi was properly admitted and whether the Department of Homeland Security will seek to deport Mr. Hashemi under one of the terror-related grounds of removal.
- US Senator John Cornyn
And now those links and excerpts from John Fund's ongoing coverage (in reverse chronological order):
  • From "Sayed and de Man at Yale: The campus that ran off a Nazi propagandist today welcomes one from the Taliban." (today, Mar. 20):
    In light of this history, and given Mr. Rahmatullah's service to one of the most brutal regimes since the Nazis, why should anyone--especially at Yale--give him the benefit of the doubt, especially when he has not publicly renounced the Taliban? Late last year he wrote an essay in which he said that the regime "honestly practiced what they had learned in their religious schools. They did what they had been taught to do. Whether what they had been taught was good or bad is another subject." When a Times of London reporter asked Mr. Rahmatullah this month about the Taliban's public executions in a Kabul soccer stadium, he quipped, "There were also executions happening in Texas."

    Yale refuses to defend its position, but others are talking. Afghan exiles are appalled that Mr. Rahmatuallah was given a coveted place that could have gone to an Afghan man or woman who had been oppressed by the Taliban. Author Sebastian Junger reports from Afghanistan in the current Vanity Fair on the atrocities the Taliban are committing today. They include skinning a man alive and leaving him to die in the sun. Another man was forced to watch as his wife was gang-raped. Then his eyes were put out, so that the horrific crime would be the last image he would ever see. The relatives of U.S. soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan are likewise appalled. "It's not like the Taliban ever signed a peace treaty," Natalie Healy, the mother of a Navy SEAL killed by a Taliban rocket last year, told me. "They're still killing Americans."
  • From " 'Temporarily Relieved': Yale suspends the anonymous emailer who blasted Taliban critics" (Mar. 16):
    I spoke with an American military officer who is about to return to his post in Afghanistan. "I can't imagine explaining to my troops back there that while they just lost four of their comrades to the Taliban that one of America's most prestigious universities is giving a valued place as a student to a largely unrepentant Taliban official," he told me.
  • From "You've Got Mail (It's From Yale): A university official calls Taliban critics "retarded" while the university maintains a stony silence." (Mar. 13):
    The president's alma mater is experiencing a similar flood of leaks, as the community there reacts to omertà the university has practiced in refusing meaningful comment on its admission of a former top Taliban official, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi. Beyond a single vague 144-word statement (later expanded to 281 words, including a defense of Yale's not hosting a ROTC program), Yale won't let anyone comment officially, citing student privacy issues and hoping they can keep silent and last out the storm. But unofficially, some Yale administrators are privately trashing critics.
    From "Taliban Man at Yale: University officials are embarrassed--but not embarrassed enough." (Mar. 6):
    Last week it emerged that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former deputy foreign secretary of the Taliban, is now a student at Yale while at the same time the school continues to block ROTC training from its campus and argues for the right of its law school to exclude military recruiters. King George's troops played the music to "The World Turned Upside Down" as they surrendered at Yorktown. Perhaps the Ivy League should adopt that tune as they surrender all vestiges of common sense.
  • From "Jihadi Turns Bulldog: The Taliban's former spokesman is now a Yale student. Anyone see a problem with that?" (Feb. 27):
    Never has an article made me blink with astonishment as much as when I read in yesterday's New York Times magazine that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa. This is taking the obsession that U.S. universities have with promoting diversity a bit too far....

    "In some ways," Mr. Rahmatullah told the New York Times. "I'm the luckiest person in the world. I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale." One of the courses he has taken is called Terrorism-Past, Present and Future.

    Many foreign readers of the Times will no doubt snicker at the revelation that naive Yale administrators scrambled to admit Mr. Rahmatullah. The Times reported that Yale "had another foreigner of Rahmatullah's caliber apply for special-student status." Richard Shaw, Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions, told the Times that "we lost him to Harvard," and "I didn't want that to happen again."
Stay tuned.

  • Townhall has set up a blog on the topic with tall sorts of links and commentary: "Nail Yale: Fighting the Talibanality of Evil in the Ivy League":
    We’re four Yale alumni who are outraged by our alma mater’s decision to admit former Taliban official Sayeed Rahmatullah Hashemi as a special student. Mr. Rahmatullah’s sole qualification for admission appears to be his service as an apologist for a brutal, misogynistic, terrorist-abetting tyranny. There’s something broken at Yale if they thought admitting him was a good idea, and we want it fixed.
    The Nail Yale name comes from this column, wherein an alumna writes that she "won’t give Yale one red cent this year, but maybe I will give them a red fingernail instead," referring to the Taliban’s policy of pulling off the fingernails of Afghani women who donned fingernail polish.
  • Drudge has linked Fund's Mar. 20 piece.
  • From a letter to Yale by a reportedly left-leaning alumna (who incidentally does not advocate withholding contributions):
    By giving special treatment to the ambassador of the Taliban regime, an individual with subpar qualifications who was admitted because of, rather than in spite of, his involvement with that regime,Yale is sending a pretty mixed message. Aren't there other foreign individuals with diverse viewpoints that they could have admitted? Ones who weren't the spokesmen for violent, intolerant regimes? Maybe even ones who were academically qualified?

    And this is an issue that the right wing does not--and should not--own. The right wing doesn't own the market on common sense. There are lots of Democrats out there who can agree that it's pretty upsetting that Yale is giving the Taliban spokesman the opportunity to earn a Yale education. And I daresay that there are a lot of Liberals (gasp!) and Feminists (oooh!) who think the same way.

    ...This is not diversity--this is a lapse in judgment. Diversity doesn't mean abandoning your sense of right and wrong.