ISIS: The Islamic State of Information Systems Must Be Stopped

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Dear Dean Nasr,

I, Michael Allen, speaking on behalf of the entire JHU student body (with their fully implied consent), hereby condemn any further use of the acronym “ISIS” to refer to our beloved university-wide, web-based student information system. It’s high time someone (like me) called out Johns Hopkins University for this affront to higher education and general decency.

In the Middle East, ISIS (Islamic State of Information Systems) continues its war of extremism, terror and subjugation. Meanwhile, at Hopkins, ISIS (Integrated Students of Iraq and Syria) remains callously indifferent to this repugnant association by name. Has it ever occurred to your cadre of ivory tower eggheads that laypeople who don’t have the rich IR knowledge conferred by a terminal MA in International Relations might be thoroughly confused by this naming debacle? I know I am.

Fall classes began on September 2nd of this year and I see no acknowledgement of the situation by the JHU administration. Tell me again that you are “taking this seriously.”

Let’s talk employment. How can I convince the State Department that I’m corner-office material when my transcripts show that I’ve been registered with ISIS for the last two years? Furthermore, if I wanted to fight for ISIS, how could I reasonably explain to an international terrorist organization that the Strategic Studies courses I audited in spring was taken out of pure curiosity and does not reflect my fundamentalist democratic leanings? Mind you, I have no interest whatsoever in joining ISIS (that would be a waste of my degree), but this is a matter of principle. If I don’t hold JHU to a higher set of principles, who will?

Remember, Dean Nasr, you work for me. When I open up my wallet and pay tuition I’m not only purchasing the SAIS brand, but I am also employing the entire school, its distinguished faculty, and (unfortunately) the men and women of ISIS. Students like me run this school, and that certainly entitles me to a little entitlement.

Let me be clear. I do not want my good school’s name dragged through the mud of terrorism. And god forbid, I don’t want any violent Islamic extremists registering for “Case Studies in Sustainable Cities,” and forcing me to spend unnecessary bid points. Dean Nasr, allowing students to fund ISIS with JHU bid points is an unsustainable and untenable policy.

It doesn’t matter that the ISIS we are now fighting in Iraq and Syria has been known by 12 different names since its inception. It is still incumbent on us, in the name of academic rigor, brand recognition, and esprit de corps, to make a clean break and change our class registration system’s name once and for all.

I have absolutely no suggestions, but this is the 21st Century. It is my duty to complain.

ISIS: Is it Something I Said?

One thought on “ISIS: The Islamic State of Information Systems Must Be Stopped

  1. Sir, I do not speak Arabic, but from what I understand the terrorist organization you referred to used the term “al-Sham,” commonly translated as “Syria,” to mean a larger area than modern-day Syria’s borders. Thus, the State Department (and the U.S. government as a whole) tends to use an alternate translation: the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). (Source: ) So your corner office is secure, If State is Serious.

    Then again, your point is technically moot as ISIL ceased to exist with the 29 June declaration of the caliphate, whereby the terrorist organization became an unrecognized state calling itself the Islamic State (IS). Where was the outrage from 8 April 2013 [when the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) expanded into Syria and changed its name] and 29 June 2014?

    I Solved It, Sir.

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