In the wake of the death of George Floyd back in May of 2020 by a law enforcement official that has since been convicted of murder, large swathes of students all over the country started seeking out professors who did not believe their own narrow views and attempting to get them fired or otherwise punished for it, all a part of what has come to be known as the infernal “cancel culture.”
“In the weeks and months after the death of George Floyd a vicious and malicious cancel culture purge swept academia, with professors who expressed views not in complete sync with radical campus opinion being subjected to firings and attempted firings, harassment and intimidation, and defamation,” stated a professor at Cornell Law, William A. Jacobson, who was the attempted target of an instance of cancel culture himself.
Back in June of 2020, shortly after the death of Floyd, a large group of students put forth an email to Gordon Klein, a UCLA professor of account, requesting that he put in place a “‘no-harm’ final exam that could only benefit students’ grades, and for shortened exams and extended deadlines for final assignments and projects,” reported Inside Higher Ed.
As reported by The Daily Wire, the students put forth these requests and accommodations due to severe “traumas, we have been placed in a position where we much choose between actively supporting our black classmates or focusing on finishing up our spring quarter.”
The students went on to add, “we believe that remaining neutral in times of injustice brings power to the oppressor and therefore staying silent is not an option.”
The group went on to insist that they did make the quest as “a joint effort to get finals canceled for non-black students,” but as a way to “ask that you exercise compassion and leniency with black students in our major.”
The students seemed to be attempting to use the May 25th death of Floyd and the ensuing riots all across the country to attempt to get leniency for a class. The professor refused their demands and arguments while responding, in another email, which led to the angering of some of the students.
“Thanks for your suggestion in your email below that I give black students special treatment, given the tragedy in Minnesota,” Klein wrote back in the email.
“Do you know the names of the classmates that are black?” Klein put forth. “How can I identify them since we’ve been having online classes only?”
He went on to ask the students about those who “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?” he questioned.
Klein also seemed to suggest that “a white student from [Minneapolis] 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.”
He ended the email with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. talking about not evaluating anyone based on the color of their skin.
The professor was quickly suspended and denounced by UCLA. It later went back on its choices and reinstated him, but as put by Jacobson, “not before his reputation and career were severely damaged.”
Klein has now slammed the school with a lawsuit that alleges that he was given punitive measures for treating all of his students equally, as is required by law in California. He also states in the suit that UCLA’s Anderson School of Management ignored a larger UCLA directive to not issue him any punishment over the student complaints.