Education & Academia

Yale’s Taliban Man

Yale University isn’t speaking — much — about its Taliban man.

In early March, Human Events U reported on Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi — the former Taliban spokesman — who’s now an enrolled student at Yale. Since then, a number of critics have expressed outrage over the school’s decision to admit Hashemi, but Yale refuses to publicly address the issue.

"Yale won’t let anyone comment officially, citing student privacy issues and hoping they can keep silent and last out the storm," writes John Fund of OpinionJournal.com. "But unofficially, some Yale administrators are privately trashing critics. One even anonymously sent scathing emails to two critics calling them ‘retarded’ and ‘disgusting.’"

Fund says Alexis Surovov, assistant director of giving at Yale Law School sent a scathing e-mail, from a Columbia University account, to two young Yale grads who are protesting Hashemi’s admittance. Clinton Taylor and Debbie Bookstaber’s protest is called "Nail Yale" and it "focuses on the Taliban’s barbaric treatment of women, which extended to yanking out the fingernails of those who wore nail polish." Fund cites a column recently written by the two urging alumni "not give one red cent this year, but instead send Yale a red press-on fingernail."

According to Fund’s piece, Surovov sent an e-mail to Taylor and Bookstaber’s private accounts and said: "What is wrong with you? Are you retarded? This is the most disgraceful alumni article that I have ever read in my life. You failed to mention that you’ve never contributed to the Yale Alumni Fund in your life. But to suggest that others follow your negative example is disgusting."

"On Thursday Mr. Taylor phoned Mr. Suvarov, who told him he was angry because the furor over the Taliban official was hurting fund raising and could lower Yale’s rankings in the next "U.S. News & World Report" college survey. He also accused Mr. Taylor and Ms. Bookstaber of ‘terrorist tactics,’ which when challenged he amended to ‘terror tactics,’ writes Fund.

When the OpinionJournal.com writer called the Yale administrator to talk, Surovov “"eluctantly" conceded to Fund that he had made "a poor choice" of one word — "retarded."

"He also largely defended Yale’s refusal to answer questions on the ex-Taliban official by saying, ‘We can’t respond to every political case. We need to show the university isn’t here to make political decisions.’ When I asked him if admitting a key propagandist for the Taliban was a political decision, he claimed he was ‘only vaguely aware of Taliban practices.’ (He clearly shares that information deficit with some other Yale officials.) When I suggested that one reason Mr. Taylor might not have given to Yale was that he was a struggling graduate student, and similarly noted that Ms. Bookstaber is only 27, he said that was no excuse. ‘Everyone can give something,’ he said, in the smooth patter of a born fund-raiser. ‘Even $5 is a handsome gift they could have given,’" according to OpinionJournal.com.

Fund notes, although the administrator used Yale equipment to send an out his callous e-mail, Surovov made it clear that he "acted solely in his personal capacity."

So let’s review. Yale enrolls a Taliban man. The school then refuses to defend or justify its actions. It remains hostile to any ROTC activity on campus. And now, an assistant director of giving throws a temper-tantrum because the school might actually have to suffer the consequences of its decision. Ivy League school or not, is this really where you want your child to go to college?


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