Education

‘Traumatized’ Georgetown, Harvard Law Students Demand Postponed Finals

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter

Minority student coalitions at Harvard and Georgetown law schools are pressing administrators to postpone or defer final exams because they claim they have experienced trauma over the recent grand jury decisions in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

The students are hoping for the same outcome granted to students at Columbia Law, another top-tier institution.

Over the weekend Columbia Law’s interim dean, Robert Scott, announced that exams would be postponed for students who feel traumatized over the two grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of Brown and Garner, both of whom are black.

The websites of all three student coalition groups at the three elite schools are bear a similar design, indicating that they are related in some way. (RELATED: Columbia Law School Students Will Be Allowed To Postpone Final Exams Over Grand Jury Decisions)

“Because this national tragedy implicates the legal system to which we have chosen to dedicate our lives, it presents us with a fundamental crisis of conscience and demands our immediate attention,” reads an open letter sent by the Harvard Law School Affinity Group Coalition to Dean Ellen Cosgrove.

Their main demand: “Give students the opportunity to reschedule their exams in good faith and at their own discretion between the period of December 20th and January 15th.”

“Delaying exams is not without precedent,” the group wrote, citing a 1970 vote to delay exams in response to antiwar protesters’ demands.

Cosgrove responded to the students, according to the group, which posted her letter to its website.

The dean offered to provide “a space for reflection and support” to distraught students, as well as access to a university specialist who can help students focus on exams. She also directed students to counselors who can provide one-on-one support.

The perceived brush-off did not sit well with the coalition which followed up with a more focused letter demanding that Cosgrove follow the lead of Columbia Law.

The Georgetown Law coalition used similar dramatic language in its request for sympathy.

“Your silence is suffocating,” begins a letter sent on Saturday by the group, A Coalition of Students of Color at Georgetown University Law Center.

“We, students of color, cannot breathe. At Georgetown University Law Center (GULC), law students of color are underserved, unacknowledged, and unable to seek relief from our institution of legal education.”

As with Columbia and Harvard, the group’s main demand is to postpone final exams.

They are also demanding that school administrators publicly address the issues surrounding both grand jury decisions across the entire school and that the school provide “targeted mental health resources.”

“We may take courses in which we are never called on: some of us remain unseen,” the open letter reads. “Invisible. Many of us are consistently called the wrong name, or the name of another person of color in the same class. These are commonplace experiences for people of color in the legal Ivory Tower.”

Other requests include diversity “retraining” for law school faculty as well as an increased focus on diversity in the student body.

Neither Harvard Law nor Georgetown Law responded to The Daily Caller’s request for an update on the status of their respective response to the students’ demands.

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