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Mateen Tabatabaei | Reconciling free speech with uncomfortable opinions

(04/05/18 6:47am)

When my family tells people we’ll be traveling to Tehran in the near future to visit family, many often express concern for our safety. “But … isn’t there no free speech in Iran?” they may ask. My dad has developed the perfect response. With a frown and a shake of his head, he’ll emphatically insist, “No, no there is freedom of speech in Iran! But — ” and here, a pause, and a smile begins to form before he goes on, slowly, “there’s not always freedom after speech.” 

Mateen Tabatabaei | What Amy Wax's critics get wrong

(03/22/18 4:10am)

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the class, and rarely, rarely in the top half,” said Penn Law professor Amy Wax in a discussion about the downsides of affirmative action with Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury for his video blog. “I can think of maybe one or two students who scored in the top half of my required first year course.” 

Mateen Tabatabaei | What we can learn from problematic historical figures

(03/12/18 6:14am)

It was Fyodor Dostoevsky who wrote, “Man’s greatest failing is a constant lack of moral sense.” Ironically, it was Dostoevsky’s own lack of moral sense that Penn Russian and East European Studies professor Kevin Platt prompted me and my peers to reflect on in “Masterpieces of 19th Century Russian Literature” as we concluded reading “Crime and Punishment.”

Mateen Tabatabaei | Penn is not to blame for your pessimistic perspective

(01/18/18 5:04am)

I imagine I’m not the only one for whom the video of accepted early decision Penn applicants, captured in their teary-eyed moments of jubilation, brought back fond memories of my own Penn acceptance. But I also viewed the video with a bit of dejection, wondering how many of these same students would, like so many before them, become harsh critics of the same institution they shed tears of joy to join. Hypercompetitiveness, overburdened mental health resources, too much drinking carried out by students, not enough drinking permitted by the administration … one must look no further than The Daily Pennsylvanian Opinion section to get a bearing on what students find wrong with Penn.