Recently, a judge ruled in favor of a UCLA professor suing the university for suspending him after refusing to give select students special treatment. In the wake of the riots unfolding across the nation in 2020, the professor refused to grade black students more leniently than other students.
Per a report from Inside Higher Ed, several students sent an email to an accounting professor at UCLA, Gordon Klein, shortly after the passing of George Floyd. The email from the students requested that Klein extend multiple deadlines for final projects and assignments, as well as provide a “no harm” final exam that would ostensibly be graded with far more leniency.
According to a report from the Daily Wire, the students wrote that recent “traumas” had
placed them in a position where they were ostensibly forced them to choose between “focusing on finishing up our spring quarter” or “actively supporting our black classmates.”
“We believe that remaining neutral in times of injustice brings power to the oppressor,” the students continued, adding that “staying silent is not an option.”
The students also added that they were not attempting to have “finals canceled for non-black students,” but rather attempting to obtain “leniency” and “compassion” for “black students in [their] major.”
Klein did not respond favorably to the group’s request, replying, “thanks for your suggestion … [to] give black students special treatment [due to] the tragedy in Minnesota.”
“Do you know the names of the classmates that are black?” Klein queried, adding that he cannot identify them given that classes have been online only in the wake of the pandemic.
The professor also noted that some students may be mixed, such as “half-black Asian,” asking, “What do you suggest I do with respect to them? A full concession or just half?”
Klein also indicated a white student originating from Minneapolis could potentially be “even more devastated” by the incident, especially if being shamelessly labeled a racist when they are not.
“My TA is from Minneapolis,” Klein continued, “so if you don’t know, I can probably ask her.”
The accounting professor then concluded the email with a quote from MLK Jr., which asserted that one should judge an individual not by their skin color, but rather by their character.
The students complained and UCLA suspended the professor, though Klein was later reinstated.
Klein is also presently suing the university, with a judge ruling in favor of his lawsuit moving forward given that the ample evidence had been provided to “support judgment in [Klein’s] favor.”
The jury trial is set to begin in April 2023.