Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Taliban at Yale

It seems that last year Yale admitted a former ambassador from the Taliban regime as an undergraduate:

Even Yale isn't defending its action by suggesting that Mr. Rahmatullah has recanted all of the extremist views he espoused during a propaganda tour the ambassador made of the U.S. a few months before 9/11. No one at the International Education Foundation, the Wyoming-based group that is sponsoring his stay in the U.S., will explain an essay Mr. Rahmatullah wrote last year that appeared on its Web site (since removed) in which he called Israel "an American al Qaeda" aimed at the Arab world. In that essay he also claimed the Taliban "did what they had been taught to do. Whether what they had been taught was good or bad is another subject."

Yale will have more explaining to do to prospective students and their parents late this month when it begins sending out acceptance letters to 1,300 applicants for coveted positions in its undergraduate class of 2010. The highly selective school will also mail out 19,300 rejection letters. "I can't imagine it will be easy for Yale to convince those it rejects that the Taliban student isn't taking a place they could have had," a former Yale administrator told me. Mr. Rahmatullah boasts only a fourth-grade education and a high-school equivalency degree.

Helaine Klasky, a Yale spokeswoman, takes the position that Mr. Rahmatullah is not a freshman, merely a student in a program that doesn't grant degrees but offers participants a 35% to 40% discount on tuition. "We hope that his courses help him understand the broader context for the conflicts that led to the creation of the Taliban and its fall," she says.
Maybe it's just that I've been out of the outrageous news item circuit for a while, but I hadn't heard about this before. However, I suppose the cynical approach would be to say that it's surprising neither that Yale would be eager to admit a former member of the Taliban, nor that someone with a fourth grade education could pass a US high school equivalency exam -- both of which are, in their rather different ways, sad commentaries on the American education system.

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