Professor Under Attack for Not Delaying Exams For Minority Students

An accounting professor at the University of California Los Angeles is reportedly under police protection after he refused to delay final exams for minority students due to the death of George Floyd in police custody.

The Washington Free Beacon reported that the school announced it is looking into Gordon Klein’s “troubling behavior.” The news website reported that his decision to deny the request was met with anger and the Malibu Police Department said it was increasing police patrols near his home due to threats.

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The website reported that the school did not comment on the particular incident but said that it is “committed to creating a learning, working, and living environment that is free from discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.”

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The Jewish Press reported that Klein has been in at the Anderson School of Management since 1981. The paper reported that Klein responded to the request, “Thanks for your suggestion in your email below that I give black students special treatment, given the tragedy in Minnesota. Do you know the names of the classmates that are black? How can I identify them since we’ve been having online classes only? Are there any students that may be of mixed parentage, such as half black-half Asian? What do you suggest I do with respect to them? A full concession or just half? Also, do you have any idea if any students are from Minneapolis? I assume that they probably are especially devastated as well. I am thinking that a white student from there might be possibly even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they’re racist even if they are not. My TA is from Minneapolis, so if you don’t know, I can probably ask her. Can you guide me on how you think I should achieve a ‘no-harm’ outcome since our sole course grade is from a final exam only? One last thing strikes me: Remember that MLK famously said that people should not be evaluated based on the ‘color of their skin.’ Do you think that your request would run afoul of MLK’s admonition? Thanks, G. Klein.”

Inside Higher Ed reported that Klein was responding to “nonblack allies of their black peers.” The website reported that the students who made the request insisted that getting the final exam canceled was not their objective, “but rather an ask that you exercise compassion and leniency with black students in our major.” The report said they asked for a “no-harm” final exam that could extend deadlines or shorten tests in some instances.

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Students at the school have since called for Klein to resign. The report said that a petition has been circulating that called his remarks “dismissive and woefully racist.”

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The Free Beacon spoke with the president of the National Association of Scholars, who called Klein’s suspension disturbing. Peter Wood said that Klein is correct and treating “students on the basis of equality is morally, ethically, and legally sound. The fact that this complaining student has gotten traction with her complaint is disturbing.”

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