UCLA Professor On Leave For Refusing To Postpone A Final Exam Over Protests

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
Font Size:
  • The University of California, Los Angeles placed a lecturer on leave last week after he reportedly said in a email that he would not “give black students special treatment.”
  • Accounting lecturer Gordon Klein’s classes “have been reassigned to other faculty,” the UCLA Anderson School of Management said in a statement.
  • It is unclear exactly what was requested of Klein, but a petition on Change.org claims a student asked Klein for accommodation in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

The University of California, Los Angeles placed a lecturer on leave last week after he allegedly refused “give black students special treatment” and postpone a final exam.

Accounting lecturer Gordon Klein’s classes “have been reassigned to other faculty” as the school reviews his conduct, the UCLA Anderson School of Management said in a statement according to NBC News.

Klein was apparently responding to a request to make accommodations for black students in the wake of the death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis May 5 after an officer knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes, video of the incident showed.

Klein has said that he was following his direct supervisor’s orders when he refused a request to postpone the exam, NBC reported. An email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon purports to show that UCLA Anderson School of Management diversity committee chairman Professor Judson Caskey pushed professors to refrain from changing final exam plans.

“If students ask for accommodations such as assignment delays or exam cancellations, I strongly encourage you to follow the normal procedures (accommodations from the [Center for Accessible Education] office, death/illness in the family, religious observance, etc.),” Caskey wrote in a June 1 email, the publication reported.

A Change.org petition, reportedly organized by students, called for Klein to be removed from his position and cited an email allegedly sent by the lecturer.

Klein did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation as to whether he wrote the email, but he did not challenge the veracity of the email to NBC. (RELATED: Ivy League Universities Flush With Cash Set To Receive Millions In Federal Coronavirus Funding)

“Thanks for your suggestion in your email below that I give black students special treatment, given the tragedy in Minnesota,” the email attributed to Klein says, according to the petition and a screenshot from a Twitter user.

“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?”

The email continued: “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,” the email allegedly adds. “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,” the email concludes. “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.”

The petition against Klein lists a variety of emails for faculty at UCLA, pushing those who sign the petition to also email these faculty members and demand that Klein be fired.

The petition, which had garnered over 20,000 signatures as of Wednesday morning, also called for “your support in having Professor Klein’s professorship terminated for his extremely insensitive, dismissive, and woefully racist response to his students’ request for empathy and compassion during a time of civil unrest.”

“The killing of George Floyd displayed a brutality that was so casual and so cruel, it reflected an utter dehumanization of Black life. It is understandable, then, that students nationwide – especially Black students – are struggling to focus on their educations when there is massive sociopolitical unrest that concerns both them and the future of their plight in this country,” the petition said.

UCLA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.