Former Taliban diplomat Rahmatullah Hashemi hopes to return to Yale’s Nondegree Students Program next year, said Tatiana Maxwell, one of Hashemi’s three financial supporters and sponsors.
“It is Rahmatullah’s and our hope that he return to Yale this fall and continue his studies,” Maxwell said in an e-mail Sunday morning.
Maxwell confirmed that Hashemi was denied admission to the degree-granting Eli Whitney Students Program last week, but said he has the option to continue in the non-degree program for a limited period of time. Only two of the 29 applicants to the Eli Whitney program were accepted this year, according to a prepared statement released by the University.
Jeff Brenzel, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions, said there is a limit on the number of courses students in the Nondegree Program can take.
“A student can stay in the Nondegree Program until he or she has completed 18 courses,” Brenzel said. “There is not currently a time limit for doing that, just the limit on courses.”
Brenzel said students can and do reapply to the Eli Whitney program if they are not accepted in their first attempt.
Maxwell — president of the International Education Foundation, which was created to fund Hashemi’s schooling at Yale — said Hashemi was “understandably disappointed” by the rejection and that she hopes the decision was based primarily on Hashemi’s academic record.
“Personally, I hope that this decision was not made for political reasons and that the new rules that have been applied to the Eli Whitney program have not excluded anyone else as exceptional as Rahmatullah,” Maxwell said. “I am certain that Rahmatullah has fulfilled the academic requirements and proven that he is capable of performing to Yale standards.”
While University President Richard Levin would not comment specifically on Hashemi, he said the fact that only two students were taken into the Eli Whitney program this year demonstrates the heightened admissions criteria for the program.
“The smaller size of the Eli Whitney program reflects the fact that the admissions committee followed the instructions I gave them in the spring, which was to apply the same standard for the Eli Whitney program that is used in the regular Yale College admissions process, adjusting for stage of life,” Levin said.
Hashemi gained national attention when The New York Times Magazine ran a profile of Hashemi as its cover story in February. His presence at the University ignited a spirited debate on campus and protests from several alumni. In April, Levin announced that a Yale College subcommittee — chaired by Levin and Yale College Dean Peter Salovey — would convene to clarify the missions and admissions qualifications for entry to the non-degree and degree-granting options of Yale’s Special Student Program. The subcommittee will begin its work in late August or early September, Levin said.
Maxwell said most of the community members Hashemi encountered during his year in New Haven were supportive.
“Almost without exception, those Rahmatullah has come into contact with at Yale have expressed a positive reaction to his intelligence and demeanor,” she said. “A vocal and uninformed minority created a cacophony over Rahmatullah’s attendance at Yale and suggests that there are those who believe they have nothing to learn of other cultures and that the gulf that increases between societies is no closer to being bridged.”
Nikolay Marinov, a professor in the Political Science Department, said he provided a letter of recommendation to Yale on Hashemi’s request for Hashemi’s application to the Eli Whitney Students Program. Marinov taught Hashemi in his seminar, “International Dimensions of Democratization,” this spring.
Marinov said he has not spoken to Hashemi since he received his decision, nor does he know what his plans will be for next year.
“This is a fast-changing situation for him,” Marinov said.
Two alumni, Clint Taylor ’96 and Debbie Bookstaber ’00, launched a campaign and Weblog called NailYale encouraging alumni to forego donations to Yale until the University’s decision to admit Hashemi was more fully explained. Members of Yale’s Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity wore T-shirts emblazoned with the slogan “Taliban man, go home!” for their year-end TANG competition this spring.
Maxwell said she does not believe anyone can completely make sense of the admission decisions made by the University.
“I doubt that anyone understands the inner workings of Yale’s admission procedures,” she said.
Hashemi is currently spending the summer in Afghanistan and Pakistan with his wife and two children, according to Mike Hoover, one of Hashemi’s other financial supporters.