Letters to the Editor

Letter: Supporting Middle East studies

Friday, March 4, 2016

To the Editor:

I read Sara Al-Salem’s Feb. 26 column with great interest and empathy. Many years ago, when I was an international student at Brown, I had an emotional breakdown due to some private reasons involving my family. I could not handle the double stress of trying to sort out personal issues, guilt for wasting money on an Ivy League education with no concrete prospects for the future and, above all, the stress of trying to get a job as an international student in the United States after graduation. Looking back now, it was an unnecessary effort I should have avoided. I wish I had studied economics like most other Turks and focused more on getting a good job on Wall Street instead of spending too much time with on-campus activism.

So I made a mistake, and I did not ask for help because I thought I was strong enough to “do it all.” I needed a break from my stressful life, juggling extracurriculars, academics and leadership roles with the Brown Muslim Student Association. That same year, two distinguished professors, William Beeman and Muhammad Zaman, also quit Brown, possibly due to frustration with the University administration and its obvious bias when it came to Middle East Studies.

It is refreshing to see that things have changed a little since I graduated. I hope that the administration has overcome its bias and has spent a little more money on keeping excellent professors in the Department of Middle East Studies so that students don’t have to suffer as a result.

Tamilla Mamedova ’07