An Appeal to Our Colleagues at Stanford University

As academics, we all strive to treat our students equally and impartially. We strongly believe that our students have a right to be treated equally, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, and religion and political views.

While we do recognize that many share these key values, we are particularly dismayed when we are confronted with evidence to the contrary at a great academic institution such as Stanford University.

It seems that Dr. Jeffery Ullman, professor emeritus at the Computer Science Department of Stanford University, has been sending strange and controversial responses to Iranian students who seek admission to this department. Here are the links to Dr. Ullman’s views on his website. His post “Answers to All Questions Iranian” is self-explanatory:…

Contrary to Dr. Ullman’s statements, every year hundreds of Iranian students are admitted to graduate and PhD studies to top US universities, many of them to Stanford University. But Dr. Ullman is correct in pointing out that Iranian students are not accepted nor welcomed at the Computer Science Department of Stanford. It seems not even the Gold Medalists in Students World Computer Competition from Sharif University are considered for admission to the PhD Program at Stanford. I have been told that many bright Iranian students in the Computer Science field don’t even apply to Stanford any longer!

Sharif University is the same university that the Chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department of Stanford recently called its EE Department: “One of the best in the world!”

On December 31, 2010, I shared my concerns with Dr. Richard Saller, Dean of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford University, who graciously forwarded my email to Dr. John Hennessy, the President of Stanford University, for further investigation.

While I await a favorable response from Dr. Hennessy, I wanted to reach out to you as colleagues and seek your assistance with removing any hint of discriminatory admission practices of the Computer Science Department that reflects poorly on the stellar reputation of Stanford University.

Best Regards,

Dr. Fredun Hojabri
Former Professor and Academic Vice-president of Sharif University of Technology


On Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 10:56 PM,
–removed– wrote:

Dear Professor Ullman,

I’m a senior B.Sc. student of Computer Engineering (software) at Sharif

University of Technology in Iran. The average GPA of my last 3 semesters is 17.19 out of 20.

I will apply to Stanford University for PhD program and considering the fact that your research area is one of the most interesting areas in computer science and also most of my experience as well as my educational background have been in the same field, I have a published paper on reducing synchronizablity of Brain Networks, in Chaos Journal(Volume 20, 043119, Nov. 2010). I have done a work on a grid-based and scale-independent clustering algorithm with time complexity of O(n) and it is submitted to PAKDD conference. I also submitted a paper on a knowledge based framework to style driven architecture design to ACIID conference.

Currently, I am working on another research in software engineering about reconstructing software architecture in a knowledge driven platform.

I would really appreciate if you could let me know about the possibility of any opening in your research team. For further information, my resume is also attached to this email. I am eagerly looking forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely yours,

——– Original Message ——–

Subject: Re: Prospective student interested in Data Mining and Data Base
From: “Jeffrey Ullman”
Date: Tue, November 23, 2010 9:45 pm
To: –removed–

You need to read

And even if I were in a position to help, I will not help Iranian students until Iran recognizes and respects Israel as the land of the Jewish people. I know that you may not hold the same insane position as the mullahs that run your country, but it is a matter of principle.

If Iranians want the benefits of Stanford and other institutions in the US, they have to respect the values we hold in the US, including freedom of religion and respect for human rights.



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