The San Jose Mercury News recently published an article that frames me as anti-Muslim, based on allegations submitted by two male graduate students who had been under my supervision. I just want you to know that I do not hold the views they accuse me of. The investigation is ongoing and I hope that you’ll understand that my family and I are going through a difficult time.
I have confidence in the integrity of due process at UC Santa Cruz. Preserving that integrity implies that I can not respond to the allegations in public. What I can only offer, at this time, are a few glimpses which I hope will reduce some of your concerns.
In 2013, my wife and I were proud to make a $100 donation to a national organization promoting the right of Muslims in the United States to be free of discrimination. The associated receipt has been submitted to the investigation. Back then my wife was still a law student, so we had one income and law school tuition. I believe this was the only cause to which we donated money that year.
Since then, we have had two kids. Our 1-year old goes to a home daycare run by two sisters from Pakistan. Our 3-year old goes to a daycare owned and operated by a devout French-Moroccan Muslim woman. While the relationship with her started out as a professional one, we have since become good personal friends and often spend festive occasions together.
Several of the allegations by Student1 concern events that occurred in May 2018, during the celebration of our son’s second birthday party. Student1 was invited, along with his wife, and approximately 70 other guests. One more UCSC student was invited (not mentioned in the article). Student1, his wife, and the other UCSC student were the first people to arrive at approximately 2pm. They were also the last people to leave, well past midnight.
Several of the allegations by Student2, concern language and belittlement. Please take a look. The second example occurred after 2.5 years of collaboration and one month prior to the filing of the allegations.
The last class I taught on campus was “Introduction to Algorithms (CMPS102)” with about 300 students. As I do every year, following the final exam I sent to my students a “Life after 102” note, with some life advice. Please read it. Fifteen students used the link in the note to nominate me for excellence in teaching. My understanding is that these were the most nominations for excellence in teaching received among all professors teaching large classes at UCSC for the corresponding academic year.