A professor at UCLA for 39 years has been suspended—and is now receiving police protection—after refusing a request to alter final exams in response to the "traumas" of black students. Accounting lecturer Gordon Klein said he was only following his supervisor's orders when he rejected the request from a non-black student amid global protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, per NBC News. But students took issue with his response, shared on a Change.org petition calling for his firing. "Thanks for your suggestion ... that I give black students special treatment," the email reads. "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?" Klein also suggested a white student from Minneapolis might be "more devastated by this" than a black student.
"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?" Klein concluded, noting "our sole course grade is from a final exam only." The petition, signed some 20,000 times, calls it an "extremely insensitive, dismissive, and woefully racist response to his students' request for empathy and compassion during a time of civil unrest." Anderson School of Management Dean Antonio Bernardo also called it "troubling" and reportedly extended the time students have to complete exams, per Fox News. The university said Tuesday that Klein had been placed on leave and his classes reassigned to other faculty members while his conduct is under review. Police are also maintaining a presence outside Klein's home following threats, per Fox. (Read more UCLA stories.)