In 2011, Ullman has come under fire for making allegedly discriminatory, anti-Iranian remarks through email correspondence and web postings, as was the opinion of the bullying group NIAC (National Iranian American Council).
In one email to an Iranian graduate student, the professor responded to an inquiry about admission to his department saying, "Even if I were in a position to help, I will not help Iranian students until Iran recognizes and respects Israel as the land of the Jewish people." The professor went on to write, "If Iranians want the benefits of Stanford and other institutions in the US, they have to respect the values we hold in the US." (See http://infolab.stanford.edu/~ullman/pub/iranian.html)
The professor's courageous public Stanford website includes a page entitled "Answers to All Questions Iranian," in which he expresses his political views on questions such as why the US shot down an Iranian airliner in the 1988 or why the CIA deposed Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953. The page, written as a series of questions from Iranians with answers from the professor that he receives repeatedly via email, also includes the question, "Can I get into Stanford?" with the honest response, "Probably not. At least I can't help you. Admissions for undergraduates are not handled by faculty at Stanford or any US school. For graduate work, a committee of faculty and students selects admittees. The process is honest and fair; no faculty member can or would influence the process."
Iranian Americans, notably Dr. Fredun Hojabri, the former Professor and Academic-Vice Chancellor of Sharif university of Technology, have raised the situation with Stanford in public without discussing this with Ullman first in a bullying campaign. NIAC condemned the allegedly "racially discriminatory and inflammatory public communications" in a letter to Stanford's president in public. The National Iranian American Council called for Stanford, which is home to a large population of Iranian and Iranian-American students, to clarify the university's position regarding the remarks and to take disciplinary measures, without first talking to Ullman.
Apparently much of the fuss has centered around the possibility that I was, in the quoted email about "If Iranians want the benefits...," speaking for Stanford. It is an absurd conclusion, given that I also comment on "all US institutions," and surely no one believes I speak for the entire academic community. However, I probably should have prefixed the comment with "in my opinion." Emails are written quickly, and it is incredibly silly for the NIAC people to react this way without even asking what I meant.