Prof follows rules; school says he failed test

Thursday, June 25, 2020
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

college professor teaching classAn education rights group is trying to save a California professor's career after he refused to postpone an exam for black students.

In early June, a student suggested UCLA accounting professor Gordon Klein postpone an exam for black students due to the recent social unrest surrounding the death of George Floyd. When Klein refused, a petition to fire him went viral, the dean of the management school quizzed him about the interaction, and he was placed on mandatory leave – despite the fact his response was consistent with the faculty code of conduct at UCLA and conformed with his supervisor's instructions.

Katlyn Patton is a program officer for Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Patton says the professor's treatment is unconstitutional.

"This exchange with the student was protected expression, as well as [Professor Klein] has the right within his academic freedom rights to manage his course," she tells OneNewsNow. "[Plus] the fact he was kind of following the directives of his department head."

Patton

The dean of the management school labeled Klein's email to the student as an "abuse of power" – but FIRE argues that the only actor abusing its power is UCLA.

"This investigation is almost certainly based on the tone or viewpoint of his email, which was – however brusque – protected expression on a matter of profound public interest," the FIRE program officer states in a press release.

Patton says while this happened at UCLA, FIRE remains concerned about the way other schools are treating such occurrences.

"Our primary concern is the way universities are responding to these instances," she explains. "And we hope that UCLA will see that the decision to discipline Professor Klein was the wrong one."

FIRE called on the university to reinstate him immediately. His mandatory leave was set to expire yesterday (June 24).

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