Monday, March 13, 2006

The Taliban at Yale

Cathy Young has a great summation of the story to date, with extensive quotes.

1 comment:

nobody.really said...

Cathy seems dismayed by the situation, but I can’t tell why exactly.

Is the a story about the harm suffered by Yale applicants who are denied admission because people with political connections have taken their slots? While the story talks about Hashemi’s political connections, it never challenges his academic qualifications.

Is the story about hypocrisy/discrimination by Yale students in failing to ostracize Hashemi to the same extent that they’d ostracize a representative of the apartheid regime? If we must behave inhospitably toward one another, I can only hope that we would do so inconsistently.

I don’t share the Taliban’s world view, and arguably the regime committed crimes against humanity. If someone has evidence that Hashemi committed some crime, or is about to commit one, then she should disclose it (at least to a prosecutor). If not, then drop it. I don’t mean you have to date the guy: his views may be appalling and he may have been a political supporter of mass murder. But I don’t see the relationship between that and getting a Yale education. Hashemi may be a symbol of the Taliban, but he is not the Taliban.

To be sure, Cathy has the right to speak her mind about Hashemi. Similarly, Yale students and alumni are free to attack Hashemi, or to attack Yale; Yale supporters and administrators are free to attach those students and alumni, etc., etc. It’s not necessarily good behavior, but it mostly seems harmless.

In short, I commend Yale for admitting students regardless of race, creed or national origin. And I commend Yale’s students for recognizing the humanity in their fellow students, even when they hold deeply conflicting views. I can’t see what harm Hashemi's admission to Yale poses to anyone (except perhaps competing applicants).

I am intrigued by the suggestion that affluent and/or politically connected people can dole out Yale admissions as political favors, or even as tools of intelligence. That’s a bona fide scoop, if it’s accurate. I hope Cathy can shed even more light on that.