Debbie Bookstaber and the Yale Taliban Campaign

Here is a letter to the editor that Debbie Bookstaber wrote in response to criticism of her leadership of a bipartisan alumni protest against the admission of Taliban leader Rahmatullah Hashemi to Yale:

To the editor:

In 2006, Yale University, allowed a former leader of the Afghanistan Taliban regime to enroll in a special student program. That man, Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, had only a fourth grade education, and had previously toured the United States as a representative and apologist of one of the most brutal and misogynistic governments in modern times. I was shocked by Hashemi’s admission since I had seen numerous academically-qualified students from our own area rejected.

I joined a bipartisan alumni campaign to encourage Yale to reject Hashemi's application for continued enrollment. This was not about political ideas, but rather about our alma mater bending its own rules to offer an exceptional opportunity to a man guilty of human rights abuse. We felt that if Yale was going to recruit students from Afghanistan it would be more fitting to help victims of the Taliban's years of oppression.

Malalai Joya, the first female Afghan parliamentarian, called Hashemi’s status as a student at Yale "an unforgivable insult." Ultimately, Yale agreed. In July 2006, it was announced that Hashemi’s application to pursue a bachelor’s degree had been rejected.

Presently I am a candidate for the T/E school board. I understand that my involvement in that Yale Taliban protest is being misrepresented to undermine my candidacy. However, the alumni protest is well documented on the internet (search for "Nail Yale") and the facts are available for anyone to see.

Debbie Bookstaber