I have been asked by a number of news and web-based organizations about my interaction in late November 2004 with a Ahmad al-Qloushi student Ahmad al-Qloushi. This is my response.
In mid-November 2004, Ahmad al-Qloushi came to see me at my request to discuss the outline of his Final Research Paper assignment in the course: “Introduction to American Government & Politics.” He had failed to write the mid-term assignment and had chosen to write his final paper on a topic we both agreed would be a challenge for him. Recognizing that he would have difficulty completing the assignment, I offered him the opportunity to write his paper on a less challenging topic from the mid-term assignment list of topics. We agreed that should he take up the offer, I would not only discount the points he failed to earn at mid-term, but I would also work with him on the outline, and on the review of a draft copy of the paper before he submitted it for grading. Mr.
al-Qloushi agreed to do that. However, he turned in his final written assignment without returning for the assistance which we had agreed on earlier. When I read the paper, it became
clear to me that it did not respond to the question.
In late November, after grading all final papers, I asked Mr. al-Qloushi to come and discuss with me the grade. During this meeting, I sought from him his reasons for reneging on our earlier agreement. In response, he expressed in great detail, concerns and feelings of high anxiety he was having
about certain developments which had occurred over ten years ago in his country. Some aspects of his concerns were similar to certain concerns expressed in his paper.
Based on the nature of the concerns and the feelings of high anxiety which he expressed, I encouraged him to visit one of the college counselors. I neither forced nor ordered Mr. al-Qloushi to see a counselor; I have no
authority to do so. My suggestion to him was a
recommendation he freely chose to accept and which he acknowledged in an e-mail message to me on December 1, 2004.
Foothill College counselors are competent and highly respected professionals capable of providing professional services to students, and faculty members are always encouraged by the college administration to make such referrals to college counselors as the need may arise.
In my conversation with Mr. al-Qloushi, I did not make any reference, explicitly or implicity, to the Dean of International Students or to any other Dean. In my conversation with Mr. al-Qloushi, I did not make any reference, explicit or implicit, to Mr. al-Qloushi’s status as an international student. At the time of our conversation, Mr. al-Qloushi was still enrolled in my class, but after he met with the counselor, he never returned to the class.
I deny unequivocally all the allegations Mr. al-Qloushi has attributed to me regarding my suggestion to him that it might be helpful for him to discuss his long-standing concerns with a college counselor, as I have described here. All the other allegations made are false and have no basis whatsoever in fact.
Joseph A. Woolcock is a professor at Foothill College.