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Gordon Klein, an accounting professor at UCLA, is under fire for his email declining a request from students to provide a “no-harm” final amid the George Floyd protests. Nearly 20,000 people signed a petition calling for his removal, per the UCLA student newspaper.
“The student requested a no-harm and shortened final exam, and extended deadlines for final assignments and projects in consideration of black students’ wellbeing in light of nationwide protests against police brutality,” the Daily Bruin writes.
Klein emailed back explaining why he didn’t approve the request. “Thanks for your suggestion in your email below that I give black students special treatment, given the tragedy in Minnesota,” Klein responded.“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 possibly be even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they’re racist even if they are not.”
Klein continued: “Do you know the names of the classmates that are black? How can I identify them since we’ve been having online classes only?” He ended his email quoting Martin Luther King Jr: “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?”
Klein is currently on leave, the report says. Dean of UCLA Anderson School of Management Antonio Bernado said in an email Klein would be replaced for the remainder of the quarter. “We apologize to the student who received it and to all those who have been as upset and offended by it as we are ourselves,” Bernado wrote.
The college is investigating the email.
This story has spread well beyond the UCLA campus and has become a popular subject on social media. Users are asking for help spreading the word to sign the petition, which calls for Klein to be fired. One tweet, in particular, has been shared over a thousand times.