We have entered the era of swift action taken towards those who do not comport in the approved fashion.
(This is the first in a series of reports detailing the way activists are wielding punishments for improper protest support.)
With the wave of protests, riots, looting, and obsessive.corporate messaging – to say nothing of celebrities wrenching their backs to properly virtue signal – we are entering into a more pernicious realm. With growing frequency we are seeing severe overreach taking place in regards to compelling society to bend to the whims of the activist movement washing over the country at the moment.
The first story is out of California where a lecturing professor has been suspended for not properly extending final exam favors to his black students. More than just a straightforward story the obtuse nature of things will show how no matter how ridiculous the charges are of intolerance these days many in power are so nervous over supposed insurrections they react first and think later.
Gordon Klein has been placed on leave and his classes reassigned to other professors following an exchange that took place regarding his final exams for his course. When it was suggested to him that he grant exceptions to his black students in the wake of the George Floyd death and ensuing protests he responded with an email that detailed why he would not do so. This led to a backlash and accusations of being ‘’insensitive’’.
This exchange has led to a petition going up on Change.Org, where 20,000 signatures have been compiled to force his ouster from the university. The petition described the email from Klein as an “Extremely insensitive, dismissive, and woefully racist response to his students’ request for empathy and compassion during a time of civil unrest.”
Here is the first wrinkle in this drama — the initial letter to Klein requesting the leniency was from a white student. This professor sees his career in the balance over an alleged racial disparity that was not even levelled at him by black students. Moving beyond that, Klein had reached out to his superiors on the matter and he was told to not make any concessions as a result of the news cycle.
”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.).”
So Klein not only was showing equal responsibility among his students, he was acting as instructed. Klein’s responding email also includes one other mitigating factor. He informs the original letter writer that since the school closing as a result of the coronavirus outbreak his course was being conducted, and the final exams held entirely online. He asked how he could determine these dispensations when he was not aware of the race of most of his students due to this digital distancing.
This is the climate we find ourselves today. One need not act out in a racist fashion or even disagree with an activist movement; the sheer act of declining special treatment over current events is enough to threaten a career. Guilt is assumed, punishment is demanded, and action is swiftly taken — all before the full story is known, and all because of the heightened emotional state we find ourselves in as a nation.
To allow for fair judgement, the email response from Klein, which has been described as a ‘’woefully racist response’’, is printed in full below.
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