These are the Terrorists Whom UMass Will No Longer Allow to Apply

These are just some of the kinds of students that the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has decided will no longer be allowed to apply (h/t Ali Gharib):

They were teenagers living in Tehran when the Twin Tower’s fell at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, but what they saw haunted them even 6,000 miles away.

Now as doctoral students at the University of Massachusetts, Soroush Farzinmoghadam with the help of Nariman Mostafavi and others have designed a tribute to that day – an installation that will be on display in the Campus Center through Feb. 27.

Farzinmoghadam created “UMass 9/11 Intervention” for his master’s thesis in architecture. He is also a doctoral student in regional planning.

The installation’s dimensions of 9 by 14 are drawn from the month of the attack and the sum of all of the figures in the date 9/11/2001. The sculpture features seven columns – one for each of the four flights, one for the Twin Towers and one each for the Pentagon and the field in which the fourth plane crashed. Their shapes and placement relate to certain moments in time that morning.

Each victim is represented by a glowing strand of fiber optic cable hanging from the structure’s ceiling, with its position and length determined by factoring in the age, year and birthplace of the individual who died. The shorter strands represent children.

“We didn’t do this as Iranians,” said Mostafavi, a doctoral student in building and construction technology. “We are human beings.”

“You don’t have to be American,” to be affected by the tragedy. “You just have to be a human being.”

He said he wants to “address the similarities” between people. Farzinmoghadam, 30, said he is hoping “to use the arts as a tool that helps the conversation.”

The program in building and construction technology is in the department of environmental conservation, which is in the College of Natural Sciences, to which Iranian students will no longer be allowed to apply. which has specific departments—not environmental conservation, but others—to which Iranian national students will no longer be allowed to apply.


  1. David February 16, 2015 at 12:50 pm | #

    BDS UMass!

    • J. Otto Pohl February 16, 2015 at 12:59 pm | #

      Sure why not. I am already boycotting UIUC. It is not like living in Africa I get any chance to go to these places anyways.

  2. Judith Siegel February 16, 2015 at 3:29 pm | #

    Where are UMass students on this? No protest? No colloquy with administration?

    • UMassGradStudent February 16, 2015 at 5:55 pm | #

      Some graduate students are currently organizing a response, not sure about faculty or undergrads. There’s a faculty senate meeting this Thursday… not sure if we can expect anything from that.

  3. Thomas Leo Dumm February 16, 2015 at 4:14 pm | #

    Seems like there was no meaningful consultation with students — I am trying to get in touch with an old friend in the comp sci program there to see if they were consulted. I suspect Corey’s scenario — administrators go to consultants, and consultants (lawyers) always recommend the most restrictive readings of the law. I’m also checking with other friends at UMASS to find out what sort of faculty protest will be taken. (I teach at Amherst College, but like many of my colleagues there, I advise Ph.D. students over there.)

  4. xenon2 February 16, 2015 at 4:20 pm | #

    Have other schools like MIT, Michigan, Berkeley, etc. taken any position on this?
    The law was passed in 2012.Why the delay of 3 years?

  5. asp76 February 16, 2015 at 4:39 pm | #

    I wonder if the paper-work and bureaucratic burden is just too irksome for funding-strapped universities now. Things seem to be even worse across the pond:

  6. Thomas Leo Dumm February 16, 2015 at 6:04 pm | #

    I heard from a colleague in computer science at UMASS, and according to him the faculty of that department was not consulted. Apparenetly there is a firestorm of emails floating around, and the temporary disappearance of the new policy from the website was a part of this. To see a response from a computer science prof to what is going on go to this link at chronicle of higher ed, and look at the comments section. )

  7. Edward February 17, 2015 at 12:43 pm | #

    What doesn’t make sense about any of this is that no other colleges feel obliged to bar Iranian students. If it were really the case that government regulations require this, all colleges would need to bar Iranians.

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