Students’ ideologies should not play role in admission decisions

To the Editor:

In his article on Rahmatullah Hashemi and the media attention he has recently attracted, Josh Duboff says that Harold Koh, the dean of the Yale Law School, believes “a greater investigation into the specifics of Hashemi’s background will be necessary before the University allows him to enroll for a full degree” (“Ex-Taliban gets media attention,” 2/27). Koh says, “It would be good to know more about how [Hashemi] came to work for the Taliban … and whether he’s fully repudiated their views, which are, of course, notorious for their human rights-abusing practices.”

I hope Koh does not mean to imply that Hashemi’s views regarding the Taliban and its practices are relevant to the University’s decision whether or not to admit him. I was not aware that ideology could disqualify a Yale applicant. If it can, the University should publish a list of guidelines. Which views make admission impossible? Which are merely undesirable? Will any opinions result in expulsion?

Yale should not be in the business of policing the political orthodoxy of its students. The hypocrisy of the suggestion is especially galling, given our recent military intervention in the Middle East and all of our country’s foolish rhetoric about spreading democratic values and free speech.

Eric Knibbs GRD ’10

Feb. 27, 2006

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