UCLA Prof. apologizes for asking law students to review actions in Ferguson
WASHINGTON, December 16, 2014 — Is this a question of racism, academic freedom or liberalism on mainstream campuses that have destroyed common sense teaching all together?
According to Fox News, a UCLA professor was forced to apologize for asking a Ferguson exam question on a final law exam. Professor Robert Goldstein must have not received the liberal politically correct memo, because he presented a test question on an, apparent taboo subject — the fallout from the police shooting of a black man in Ferguson, Mo., according to Fox News.
The goal of the question that the professor presented to the law students was based on testing their legal ability to distinguish the line between inciting a riot and free speech. The question focused on Michael Brown’s stepfather Louis Head’s repeated heated shouting, “Burn this bitch down!” when a grand jury did not indict former police officer Darren Brown for the shooting death of Brown.
For some reason some hyper-sensitive students complained about the question. One student, Elie Mystal wrote to ‘Above the Law’ a popular legal blog, the test question was “racially insensitive and divisive,” reported Fox News.
The student went on to allege that the question asked students to, to “advocate in favor of extremist racists in Ferguson.”
It sounds like this law student should be a future social worker or civil rights advocate for the NAACP because law students train to become future lawyers that discern many legal conflicts and issues.
For instance, to student Mystal’s point of extremist racists in Ferguson, who are they and where were they?
Professor Goldstein caved into the politically correct police by offering an apology that was unneeded and certainly unnecessary. He said,
“I recognize, though, that the recent disturbing events and subsequent decisions in Ferguson and New York make this subject too raw to make it a useful opportunity.” The professor has indicated that he will not be grading the question.
But where was the harm in asking the question and why law students like Mystal presupposing that proof of racism are is based upon a conception of fictional accounts not actual provable facts. The professor appeared to be quite balanced in how he asked the law students to consider the question.
Leaving us to question if this was racism in seeking to evaluate the student’s skills as was the spoken intent of Professor Goldstein and why was this an off limit topic, when legal analysis is what is expected of law students?
He actually referenced both the New York and Ferguson grand jury decisions to not indict either police officer involved in their respective unarmed death incidents.
Professor Goldstein stressed in his email to students that his purpose for the question was also to present relevant and current legal issues in the news that allows the exam to both relevant and educational.
There are other law professors who have questioned the legitimacy of even apologizing for presenting students with a legal question that was so precise and totally straightforward.
One law professor at George Mason University School of Law agreed. Professor David Bernstein, bluntly mentioned,
“If there are some law students who are such delicate flowers that merely being asked to assess whether certain controversial speech that’s been in the news is constitutionally protected, in a class covering the First Amendment of all things, then maybe they should find another profession,” reported Fox News.