AN professor at the University of California Los Angeles said he had sued the school system for suspending him for facing backlash for failing to leniently judge black students in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.
“I was recently banned from my job for refusing to treat my black students less than their non-black peers,” said Gordon Klein, the professor behind the lawsuit. op-ed.
Eight days after Floyd, a black man, died in Minneapolis following a May 2020 arrest (for which a now former police officer is convicted of murder), a white student emailed Klein requesting a “no harm” final for black students given the racially charged “unjust murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd,” Klein said.
“[It’s] not a concerted effort to have finals canceled for non-black students, but rather a request for condolences and leniency to black students in our major,” the email reportedly stated.
The response to the student’s “patronizing” email asked why black students should be singled out, Klein said.
“Are there students who could be of mixed descent, like half black half Asian? What do you suggest I do with them? A full concession or only half? Do you have any idea if there are any students from Minneapolis?” he wrote back. “I’m assuming they’re probably particularly devastated too. I think a white student from there might be even more devastated, especially because some might think they’re racist even if they aren’t.”
His response was considered “racistby several students, who then formed a petition of more than 20,000 signatures demanding his termination.
“I was attacked because I was a white man and ‘completely racist,'” Klein said. “On June 5, three days after I first received an email, I was suspended amid a growing online campaign targeting me.”
Around that time, he received death threats and disparaging remarks about his Jewish heritage, the professor said.
“You are a typical bigoted, prejudiced and racist dirty, filthy, crooked, arrogant Jew… Too bad Hitler and the Nazis aren’t there to give you a much-needed Zyklon B shower,” an email is said to have read.
UCLA Anderson School of Management Dean Antonio Bernardo suspended Klein without consultation and banned him from campus, the professor claimed.
“He apparently reasoned that a well-timed publicity stunt could divert attention from the school’s reputation as an inhospitable place for people of color — not to mention plummeting rankings in US News and World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek,” he said.
When his story got out, more than 76,000 people signed a petition to have him return, Klein said.
“Less than three weeks after this whole thing exploded, I was recovered,” he said. “But this story isn’t over yet.”
The professor said he returned after three weeks, but claims he suffered major financial losses, severe emotional stress, trauma and physical ailments, according to his op-ed.
“I just filed a lawsuit against the University of California system,” Klein said. “No employee should ever cringe for fear of his employer’s power to silence legitimate views, and no society should tolerate government-backed autocrats violating constitutional mandates.”
The Washington Examiner contacted UCLA for comment, but received no immediate response.
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Original author: Lucas Gentile