RETRACTED!: “5 Ethics Observations On The Woke Student’s Stanford Admission Essay”

I’m retracting this post, for several reasons. First, it is old, really old, and the source that led me to it for some reason posted it as recent. It does appear to be true, despite the April 1 date on the tweet. Second, some of my points are not valid if the episode was not recent.

This has happened to me a few times before, usually when I’m in a rush, like today. For the second time this week, I had to get my wife to the emergency room, this time at 4:00 am. That’s no excuse: it’s my problem, not yours, and my obligations to my readers don’t change regardless of extenuating circumstances.

My thanks go to sharp-eyed Curmie, who pointed out the error.

Oh—I checked: Ziad Ahmad is real, he’s still an extreme progressive, and he didn’t go to Stanford after all. He graduated from Yale.

The post is below for posterity’s sake.


“When it comes to college essays, one teen is showing that a short but powerful message may be the path to success,” gushes NBC News. “Short but powerful”? I ‘d call the stunt by Ziad Ahmed, a teenager from Princeton, New Jersey, something a bit different from that.

In response to a question on his Stanford college application asking “What matters to you, and why?” the teen wrote “#BlackLivesMatter” 100 times. Ahmed then received an acceptance letter from the prestigious California school and is bragging about his successful gambit on social media.


1. Assuming that Ahmed would not have been admitted (even if he had solved the mysteries of cold fusion in his spare time) had he written “Make America Great Again” a hundred times in answer to the same question, this incident proves beyond a reasonable doubt that Stanford is using political preferences to cull its applications. That’s not a stunning revelation, but we now know that the school isn’t even trying for “diversity” of thought, opinion or world view. And, of course, Stanford’s bias is almost certainly the rule, not the exception.

2. “It was important to me that the admissions officers literally hear my impatience for justice and the significance of this issue,” Ahmed told NBC News. “The hashtag conveys my frustration with the failure of judicial system to protect the black community from violence, systemic inequity, and political disenfranchisement.” Oh. But the question didn’t ask him to express his impatience, however, or how “significant” he thinks the phony revelation expressed by the BLM mantra is.  The logic expressed by Ahmed’s statement to NBC shows a serious lack of critical thought, remarkable arrogance even for a teen, and his acceptance of propaganda as fact. So does his “answer” to the Stanford application query.

Yeah, I guess Stanford is right: he’s perfect for its student body.3. The purpose of asking a student to write an essay on a topic like “What matters to you, and why?” is to give an applicant an opportunity to demonstrate that he or she can build a persuasive argument and has the writing and language skills to express it. Repeating a slogan shows neither. It strongly suggests the converse: unable to write a coherent statement on his passion, the applicant resorted to a chant, like “Hey, hey, ho, ho the NRA has got to go!” Stanford, after having shown that this is good enough, can expect similar responses from other applicants. How can it penalize them for it, after allowing Ahmed’s punt?

4. At best, the student’s response shows that he believes virtue-signaling is the equivalent of substance. To be fair, in today’s woke culture, he might be right.

5. At this point, Black Lives Matter has been definitively exposed as a scam. Ahmed’s endorsement tells me that he doesn’t inform himself regarding what he is allegedly passionate about, that he is naive and easily. manipulated, and that he is an aspiring useful idiot to be led rather than a potential leader. Yet the question was part of a section of the  application that purported to examine his leadership qualities.

He IS perfect for Stanford, isn’t he?

11 thoughts on “RETRACTED!: “5 Ethics Observations On The Woke Student’s Stanford Admission Essay”

  1. “Assuming that Ahmed would not have been admitted (even if he had solved the mysteries of cold fusion in his spare time) had he written “Make America Great Again” a hundred times in answer to the same question,”

    Made my day, Mr. Marshall. You could probably written an application essay that would have gotten you into Williams!

  2. I went to Hamilton College, named after Alexander Hamilton. When my wife (also a Hamilton graduate) and I took our sons there during the college search process, one of the admissions people doing the presentation for prospective students talked about the best admissions essay he had seen: “I wanna be like Aaron Burr and have a shot at Hamilton.” We were not impressed. We haven’t been back since.

    • Hi Bert, I’m a 1973 model Continental. Hah. I’m going for my 50th reunion this June. Steve O in NJ’s brother is also a Hamilton grad, but much younger than I am. I’ve been furious at the college for a long time, particularly ever since David Wimpman, er, Wippman, was bull-dozed by a woman graduate of color into issuing a statement saying “Black Lives Matter” in those words after he’d issued some sort of reasonable, but NOT acceptable statement about St. George of Floyd. Then he made her the president of the alumni association. Absolutely shameful.

      Bill Jacobsen of FIRE obtained his BA at Hamilton. I contacted him (at Cornell) and asked whether he’d be willing to go back to the college as president to clean the currently Augean stables the place has become. He declined saying “the college is too far gone.” What a shame. It used to be a great place. Who the hell’s running the admissions office? Some overgrown kid, obviously. Embarrassing.


      By the way, my freshman year, a bunch of guys hung a sheet out their windows in Dunham announcing the formation of “The Aaron Burr Lucky Shot Society.” The same school year Alex’s statue was stolen from its plinth and eventually found during the spring thaw in a snowbank along Route 233.

      • Nice to meet you, Other Bill. I’m class of 1985. During my time there, I remember seeing a bar somewhere in the boondocks outside of Clinton that called itself the Aaron Burr Lucky Shot Saloon. I was fine with that, although I don’t think I ever went there.

  3. Why is this six-year-old story suddenly newsmaking?
    I also notice the tweet was posted on April Fool’s Day. This may or may not be significant.

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