Campus Free Speech

"The Law School Acknowledges That the Racial and Gender References on the Examination Were Deeply Offensive"

A controversy at the University of Illinois Chicago John Marshall Law School (not to be confused with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

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[1.] Here's the text of an exam question (worth 1 point out of 50) administered in Prof. Jason Kilborn's civil procedure class at University of Illinois Chicago John Marshall Law School:

After she was fired from her job, Plaintiff sued Employer under federal civil rights law, claiming employment discrimination on the basis of her race and gender. [discussion of other evidence omitted]  Employer also revealed that one of Plaintiff's former managers might have damaging information about the case, but no one at Employer knew where that former manager was, since she had abruptly quit her job at Employer several months ago and had not been heard from since.  With nothing to go on but the manager's name, Employer's lawyer pieced together several scraps of information and concluded that this former manager must be located in a remote area of northern Wisconsin.  Employer's lawyer spent $25,000 to hire a private investigator, who successfully located the former manager in northern Wisconsin.  Employer's lawyer traveled to meet the manager, who stated that she quit her job at Employer after she attended a meeting in which other managers expressed their anger at Plaintiff, calling her a "n____" and "b____" (profane expressions for African Americans and women) and vowed to get rid of her.

Later, Plaintiff's lawyer served [another discovery demand, omitted, and] an interrogatory demanding the identity and location of any person with any information related to the termination of Plaintiff's employment at Employer or potential discrimination against Plaintiff by Employer or any agent of Employer.

Can Employer identify the former manager but properly withhold her location, as this is the product of a significant amount of work and expense by Employer's attorney?

As readers of this blog doubtless gathered, the "n____" and "b____" were what was written on the exam; as usual, I don't expurgate such words in quotes—the professor had expurgated them himself on the exam.

[2.] Now I think that one can plausibly argue that exam questions should stay away from certain topics—not just words but whole topics, such as racial harassment or rape or abortion or child abuse—that are likely to distract certain students, especially when those topics aren't central to the class, even though law school classes shouldn't avoid such topics. The purpose of an exam is to evaluate student knowledge, usually based on hypotheticals; it's not, as with the class itself, to promote debate or to teach the facts (however upsetting the facts might be) or to accustom students to the norms of legal profession (which generally include accurate quoting of unpleasant facts). And perhaps, the argument would go, this could even be set forth as a matter of school policy and not just a matter of professor discretion, on the theory that standard norms of academic freedom are for teaching and scholarship, but don't fully apply on exams. (Perhaps this is why Prof. Kilborn apologized when he heard complaints about the matter, according to an Above The Law story.)

Of course, one could also argue the other side—that exam questions should evaluate student ability to deal with difficult facts that can be relevant to the topic of the class, even if not a necessarily inherent part of the topic. (Many leading civil procedure cases do involve discrimination, such as the hugely important Ashcroft v. Iqbal.) Moreover, in recent years we've seen a movement to integrate discussions of race, racism, white supremacy, slavery, and the like into more classes, even ones where they wouldn't have been raised before. That would sit uneasily with a prohibition on even mentioning such material on the test. These are interesting questions, which I can imagine a faculty debating.

But to my knowledge there was no such discussion by the faculty. Instead, the Dean—who is also the President of the American Association of Law Schools, and who in that capacity has said that all professors at all law schools "must work to transform our schools into antiracist organizations"—released the following statement (quoted in an Above The Law story):

The Law School recognizes the impact of this issue. Before winter break, Dean Dickerson apologized to the students who expressed hurt and distress over the examination question. The Law School acknowledges that the racial and gender references on the examination were deeply offensive. Faculty should avoid language that could cause hurt and distress to students. Those with tenure and academic freedom should always remember their position of power in our system of legal education.

The Law School is working with UIC's Office for Access and Equity to conduct a thorough review of this matter, and Dean Dickerson and other Law School and University leaders have scheduled a meeting with student leaders. We remain committed to ensuring that all of our students have a safe and supportive environment and that all members of the Law School community live up to our shared values.

[3.] This statement apparently came in response to a student petition, this one endorsed by the school's Black Law Students Association:

Call to Action: Insensitive and Racist Content on UIC John Marshall Law School Exam!

"N_____" and "B_____": The Inexcusable Usage of ______ on a UIC John Marshall Law School Civil Procedure II Exam.

On December 2, 2020, UIC John Marshall Law students sat for a Civil Procedure II( JD-421-0) final examination instructed and administered by Professor Jason Kilborn. The question at-issue contained a racial pejorative summarized as follows: "'n____'and 'b____' (profane expressions for African Americans and women)." The fact pattern involved an employment discrimination case where the call of the question was whether or not the information found was work product.

The slur shocked students created a momentous distraction and caused unnecessary distress and anxiety for those taking the exam. Considering the subject matter, and the call of the question, the use of the "n____" and "b____" was certainly unwarranted as it did not serve any educational purpose. The question was culturally insensitive and tone-deaf. It lacked basic civility and respect for the student body, especially considering our social justice efforts this year.

The integration of this dark and vile verbiage on a Civil Procedure II exam was inexcusable and appropriate measures of accountability must be executed by the UIC administration.

We cannot ignore the history and violence the N-word represents and the psychological impact, and mental trauma students were subjected to. The implication of such vile and gratuitous verbiage on a Civil Procedure II exam demonstrated a lack of respect, decency, and civility.

What must be done:

We demand action and actual change.

  • Professor Kilborn should immediately step down as the chair of the academic affairs committee and from all other committee appointments he holds. Someone who exhibits such poor judgment should not be able to hold an additional position of power. Specifically, one with influence over academic affairs.
  • The school must ensure that all mandatory courses are taught by multiple professors—empowering students with the opportunity to take classes from professors without a history of bias.
  • As requested in BLSA's demand letter on June 5, 2020 and stated herein, we continue to advocate strongly for mandatory cultural sensitivity training for faculty and staff.
  • The school must implement an unambiguous policy with guidelines prohibiting offensive and culturally insensitive language in the classroom by professors. We expect to see this policy implemented by the Spring 2021 Semester, starting January 11, 2021.
  • The Administration must plan an open dialogue event with Professor Kilborn during the Spring 2021 Semester. Preferably moderated by a professor at UIC John Marshall Law School.

There is a problem at UIC John Marshall Law School. It is evident in all the letters and statements we have written before. We do not have time for band-aid solutions. We need surgery and this operation is not up for debate. Act now.

[4.] This makes me wonder, and I imagine it makes other faculty members wonder:

[A.] The dean's statement that "Faculty should avoid language that could cause hurt and distress to students" by its terms isn't limited to exams. Is it an echo of the students' general demand (also not limited to exams) that "The school must implement an unambiguous policy with guidelines prohibiting offensive and culturally insensitive language in the classroom by professors"?

[B.] Will there likewise be "thorough review" by the Office of Academic Equity whenever it is alleged that a professor's hypotheticals are "offensive and culturally insensitive" (in the petition's words) or "could cause hurt and distress [even with expurgation] to students" (or perhaps just to some groups of students)?

[C.] If "the racial and gender references on the examination were deeply offensive," it seems likely that they would be offensive off the examination, too. What exactly will the rule be when teachers want to talk about racial or sexual harassment, or other mistreatment of people based on race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, and the like? Have we reached a point that one can't even quote epithets in expurgated form? Or is it that all discussion of "deeply offensive" conduct by defendants is itself "deeply offensive," regardless of the words (or letters and underlines) that one uses?

[D.] How can academic freedom and institutional self-government work if these decisions are made and publicly announced by deans, apparently without any real discussion with the faculty as a whole?

As readers of the blog know, Prof. Randy Kennedy and I have a forthcoming article (Quoting Epithets in the Classroom and Beyond) that argues that it is quite proper for professors to accurately quote epithets, without expurgation, though we don't discuss the specific context of exam questions. But this incident seems to show that the movement to restrict speech in law schools have slipped far beyond that particular controversy.

[5.] A procedural point about this post: I had originally posted a somewhat different version of this post, but 15 minutes after it went up, I got a message from Prof. Kilborn with more information that led me to delete the post and then repost this version. (I tried to do that immediately, but there were technical problems with the Reason content management system; it took about 30 minutes to get it removed.)

The original version of the post reported that Prof. Kilborn had said he had been placed on indefinite administrative leave, all his classes were cancelled, and he was barred from campus and faculty communications, with no explanation for why this happened, with the Dean saying that the "Office for Access and Equity" would explain more. I e-mailed the Dean and an Associate Dean to ask for their version of the story, but got a message from central university saying "the university cannot comment on personnel matters."

That much appears to be correct—but it turns out (and Prof. Kilborn e-mailed me to say that he just learned it this afternoon, despite his repeated earlier attempts to get an explanation) that the suspension appears to be based on a separate claim, which is that Prof. Kilborn had said something threatening in a follow-up discussion. Prof. Kilborn's view is that his statement was misinterpreted, and that the suspension and cancellation of classes is unjustified (especially given that the university is being taught remotely in any event). But that is now a separate matter from the Dean's condemnation of the exam question, the Dean's statements about "language that could cause hurt and distress to students," and the Office for Access and Equity investigation based on the exam question. I therefore took down the post and recast it to avoid the discussion of the suspension; but I've added these paragraphs just to make clear the change that was made.

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  1. But if you are a legal advocate who is in the “anti-racism” business then you are, presumably, going to be fighting for victims of discrimination from time to time. And those victims will most likely have similar stories to where they have been called nasty slurs and names. How would one who objects to having to read such words in school deal with them in an actual professional environment especially when the facts (which are partly the words used) are what is going to make or break the case.

    1. One would of course turn around and sue one’s client for hurtful words which are clearly violence and denounce one’s client as a racist victim of, and purveyor of, white supremacist violence.

    2. Laywers will also often have to work ridiculous hours and endure unprofessional personal criticisms from clients and supervisors. Accordingly, it’s also reasonable for professors to schedule marathon 18 hour exams–maybe even on a holiday–and to personally harass the students while they’re taking the exams. How can you get a good grade in civ. pro. if you can’t even handle working grueling hours and enduring humiliating criticisms like a real lawyer?

      1. This is a good point. In med school they simulate the long hard hours doctors work during rotations. Why not go the same for lawyers in law school?

        1. We prepared for the legal real world by spending a great deal of time boozing at the nearby Irish bar.

          1. You will be sad to find out that most post-law school drinking you do will be at home alone staring at your student loan debt growing with interest.

            1. 20 years ago, and paid off.

    3. I mean, we are so far away from any notion of education here it is ridiculous.

      The ultimate problem, I suspect, is that students are consumers, paying a lot of money in tuition. So the customers are always right.

      In the real world no association of law students has sufficient knowledge of either law pedagogy to opine on this sort of question. But as long as students are paying high five figures a year to attend school, they get to dictate the pedagogy no matter what.

      The only thing I can imagine doing that might work would be for State Bars to refuse to accredit schools that do not have a policy of summarily rejecting student petitions in pedagogical issues. And good luck getting a State Bar to do that.

      1. “State Bars to refuse to accredit schools that do not have a policy of summarily rejecting student petitions in pedagogical issues”

        No. The right to petition for redress of grievances is neither restricted to legitimate nor even rational ones. Instead, it is the duty of the Dean, preferably politely and professionally (at least the first time) to explain why their petition is without merit. A “teaching moment” to explain what these adult-sized children are missing.

        The problem is the Dean, not the adult-sized children.

        Furthermore, as to both state law schools and perhaps the bar associations themselves, I can see a glaring First Amendment issue — that pesky little thing about the right to petition for redress of grievances. And on a more basic level, if you can’t defend your pedagogy, at least to the point of saying “thank you, but no”, there either are gaping flaws in it, or you haven’t thought it through well enough to have a scintilla of understanding why you teach the subject matter the way you do.

        1. I don’t think that any case has held that schoolchildren have the right to have their petitions regarding pedagogy heard by the school. This isn’t a student free speech issue- a public or private school has EVERY right to say “you have no say on what we teach you, and if you don’t like it, don’t go here”.

      2. Sounds like we need to re-do our education system so that students really are customers who desire an education, and have skin in the game regarding costs. I would imagine that this means a lot less federal spending.

      3. So the customers are always right.

        That’s one of those things that people love to repeat, but has never been true.

    4. Exactly, but the children are easily offended and naive. Racism exists, and is alive and well in society, duh! That is how the world is, and best to learn how to confront it and deal with it if you truly want society to change, rather than complaining that acknowledging the various existence of racism is somehow offensive. Which is why as adults, we need to stick to our guns rather than just roll over. And for lawyers, this ability to deal with such issues, and then to be able to think rationally, is not going to be easy if the person is offended. But that makes it even more important that these students have exposure to these issues to prepare them for the future. However, I would expect more and more professors to avoid these topics as doing the right thing becomes too much of a bother, with all the offended students trying to censure and terminate the professor. Which is counter productive.

  2. The word “antiracist” is a red flag indicating that the person using it is promoting Critical Race Theory and therefore is engaged in malicious racism himself. The law should not permit him to have hiring and firing powers for any employer.

    1. I think you mean Critical Race “Theory.” Unless we have really dumbed down the notion of what a theory is. (Uh oh, is it okay to have used the word “dumb?”)

      I remember when lots of people said, “We need to have a conversation about race.” But the main outcome is all too often: “You’re doing it wrong.”

      And the sentence for “doing it wrong” is often the worst thing that has ever happened to the alleged perpetrator.

  3. If the professor’s use of “n____” was offensive, surely so was the student petition’s use of “N-word.” In both cases, the censored slur was used, not to derogate, or even to refer to, a real-life individual, but rather to call attention to the word as an offensive term, and point out that the use of same may bring negative consequences to the user.

  4. Who could have seen this coming?

    Woke person: As an anti-racist white person, I acknowledge that I can never say the n-word.

    Woker Person: Holy shit! You just said the n-word!

    Woke Person: No I didn’t! I said– Wait a minute, I can’t say the… the euphemism for a slur that begins with its first letter followed by “word”?

    Woker Person: You can’t say that either!

    1. Never talk to a woke person

    2. I need to start a GoFundMe to enable me to complete my cluetron bomb prototype.

  5. This blog has gone ZERO days without using the first letter of a vile racial slur, followed by five underscores.

    1. Is it okay if I only use 3 underscores?

      What if I use * or – instead of _?

      1. Just don’t use two underscores, or somebody might think you’re saying “near.”

        1. “The sheriff is a near!” ???
          [hat-tip: “Blazing Saddles”]

          1. Of course 🙂

    2. Maybe the prof should have hired a stand in that could use the word according to all woke criteria. I’m sure a local aspiring rapper would take the gig for $100.

      1. I wonder…if a black rapper develops a white audience, does that make it minstrelsy?

      2. Like a Shabbos goy?

        1. This blog has now gone

          0

          days without using an anti-Gentile slur.

          Don’t take my word for it, consult the worrywarts at the Jewish Telegraph Agency and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston:

          https://www.jta.org/2019/04/22/culture/is-goy-a-slur

          (Did I say “worrywarts”? I meant “extra sensitive and woke”)

          1. Seriously? “Shabbos goy” is a term of respect and endearment, for someone who is not bound by Jewish law and is willing to help out a religious Jew who is. Elvis, Obama, and Gore all served in this capacity, as a kindness to their Jewish friends:

            https://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-elvis-and-5-other-famous-shabbos-goys/

    3. This blog always has gone ZERO days without the first letter of a vile racial slur, followed by unrelated letters.

      I realize intellectual consistency isn’t actually a thing in academia anymore, but by this sort of reasoning, don’t they need to ban any use of the phrase, “vile racial slur”, as well as any reference to something having been banned?

    4. Blacks have gone zero days also. What’s your point? Are you anti-black?

  6. Not a single one of those students better ever listen to rap music or watch a movie in which black characters play a major role. If they do, then their purported injury is revealed for what it is–a nasty power play.

    But that is what the Left (and CRT is part of the Left) is all about. The issue is NEVER the issue.

    1. But at least rap is respectful to women.

  7. Just have the disparaging remark be “they are white Bible thumping crackers”. The Social Justice warrior / group think / identity political elite will say that anyone who meets that disparage can’t claim discrimination. Students will be confused and say what is disparaging and faculty will give you high fives.

  8. The complaint is overly-sensitive but the most disappointing part is the reaction from the dean. What a great way to tell other faculty that they should consider a change in employment and make sure possible recruits are given notice that you aren’t much of a dean.

    1. But it says the Dean is president of a national law-school organization.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7YntoZAOpE

      1. And that’s sad, but at least in that capacity his job is to advise law schools. Bad advice is still advice. As a dean he’s supposed to take a measured approach and not just immediately throw faculty under the bus. That’s a job for university administration.

        1. True, he’s at least supposed to pretend to nominally support the Faculty.

  9. It would be interesting to know how many of the students who are complaining listen to rap songs that regularly use a certain word; and how many of such students feel distress and turmoil, and express outrage, upon hearing that word in those songs.

  10. These faculty are Prof. Volokh’s chosen colleagues, and the dean in question is the head of his chosen professional organization. LOL.

  11. 1. Context does matter. Let’s not pretend it doesn’t.
    2. In this case…ignore # 1. This case is obviously a troll…a fake story, since no one in academia administration of a grad school programme could be this obtuse.
    Except . . . it is not a fake story. The mind boggles. And not in a good way. Can’t believe Eugene did not link to his (maybe a bit too obvious and on-the-nose).
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYkbqzWVHZI

  12. I think this is a very good thing. I now have a general idea of a number of future lawyers I would categorically forbid from ever representing me.

  13. What’s the answer to the exam question?

    1. I believe the answer is the Plaintiff must disclose the information to which they now have gained even though the cost of obtaining it was high. There was nothing compelling the plaintiff to track down the previous manager and could have let sleeping dogs lie. However, they did, at their own expense, and high cost does not privilege the information. That is the gamble you take with discovery.

      I had a friend who was consulting on a case. It was civil and the facts were largely in their client’s favor. Then they decided running some forensics on a hard drive to obtain lost files would make the case a “slam dunk” (without asking the client who probably would have told his lawyer not to bother because of the content of those files.) They found the files and those did the exact opposite, impeaching the deposition of one party. Don’t know how opposing counsel found out but they served interrogatories and an order for files fitting the description of what was found. After some motion work, the client who had the favorable case lost privilege arguments and had to settle for pennies on the dollar.

      Some times it pays to not go looking.

      1. As I read the question, in this case I think it did pay off, big time.

        It’s one thing to have a complaint of an employee being harassed(?), it’s another thing to have a manager quit because of what was said about the employee in a meeting, my guess is that this will be your prime witness and hence the slurs are necessary to demonstrate that. To demonstrate how damning this witness will be.

  14. From the linked ATL article:

    “As a white person, I cannot know what it’d be like to read an abbreviated form of the slur on an exam.”

  15. “The Inexcusable Usage of ______ on a UIC John Marshall Law School Civil Procedure II Exam.”

    That’s truly Onion-worthy.

    1. It’s a ____ shame.

  16. Why are you asking questions about something that isn’t supposed to have an answer.

    Repent racist! Now open your wallet!

    That’s all you need to know.

  17. “Illinois Chicago John Marshall Law School”

    That name is extra-problematic.

    “…Marshall’s opinions in slave cases were narrow, cramped, timid, and consistently hostile to freedom.”

    https://lawreviewblog.uchicago.edu/2020/08/31/marshall-slavery-pt1/

  18. Seems like the appropriate response is “Oh, no problem. We’ll refund your tuition and fees, prorated to the exam date. Turn in your student ID when you collect it. Have a nice life.”

  19. Did you notice that the complaint letter ended with a reference to letters they had written before? I wonder what those earlier complaints had been about.

  20. What’s next?

    Medical school students complain their anatomy class is really gross?

  21. There’s a fair amount of communication from the Black Law Students’ Association that suggests that the Professor used the actual words “nigger” and “bitch”.

    I wonder if there’s a defamation lawsuit coming.

  22. “The question at-issue contained a racial pejorative summarized as follows: “‘n____’and ‘b____’ (profane expressions for African Americans and women).”

    So. “Nice” and “beautiful”? Those words are not connected with religion or religious matters, so they meet the dictionary definition of “profane”. The _____ could actually be any words starting with “N” or “B” that weren’t connected to religion. Looks like the students need a lesson on not jumping to conclusions.

    “Beautiful” might possibly be considered sexual harassment, I guess.

    I’d say “derogatory expressions” would be more appropriate than “profane expressions”.

  23. Still incessantly nipping at the ankles of the American mainstream with cherry-picked swipes about how tough it is to use racial slurs and spout nonsense in public these days, while (1) ignoring the ample evidence of conservative censorship and (2) engaging not only in viewpoint-based censorship yourself but also in the gymnastics needed to use a vile racial slur with remarkable frequency?

    As Steve Van Zandt wrote, some things just don’t change (can’t provide the link because of this site’s odd limitations).

    1. Kirkland, the former manager wouldn’t be as damning a witness if they’d merely said that the employee was “incompetent” and “rude to customers.”

      Perhaps the professor was actually trying to help the students get the answer right.

    2. The broken record is stuck again!

      1. After playing the same few, tired tracks for years, this blog could use a new song.

        I expect no or little change . . . until replacement.

      2. His name is Johnny One Note.

        Hit it Ella:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H-9Dw6s21E

    3. “Still incessantly nipping at the ankles of the American mainstream…”

      Huh. Until Arthur’s confirmation I would have doubted that the view that it is bigoted to write “n______” is mainstream. But I guess this is the mainstream left-wing view now.

      1. RAK is projecting. He is the black knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, having had all his limbs cut off, threatening to bite his foes ankles as they walk away.

      2. I do not like the conduct aimed at this professor any more than I like this blog’s banning of Artie Ray Lee Wayne Jim-Bob Kirkland (for making fun of conservatives) or this blog’s censorship of me (for using terms such as “c_p succ_r” and “sl_ck-j_w” to describe conservatives).

        1. “I do not like the conduct aimed at this professor…”

          Why not? Are you suggesting that the pain that the students felt upon seeing the redacted slurs is somehow illegitimate?

          I mean, I’m certainly suggesting that, but I’m surprised that you would suggest the same thing.

        2. Why not? Acc. to you, a clinger has been put in his place, and you are one step closer to achieving Marxist nirvana. (Excuse the mixing of ethnic metaphors.)

  24. It’s possible there is a backstory of previous complaints about this professor or other issues. We don’t know. In these instances I suspect there often is.

    I’m also beginning to wonder if any of these things are fundamentally pranks.

    1. In ordinary times, there would be a backstory. At present that is not necessary. BUT without knowing, one should withhold judgement.

      If they are pranks, the perps should be subject to severe punishment.

  25. The hypothetical on this exam is so common in employment complaints that it seems perfectly reasonable to include the topic on an exam in a course with relevant material.
    The use of “n____” and “b____” are gratuitous and for some provocative as “addressing her with racial slurs” would have sufficed.
    Absent a significant backstory, the complaint cab be considered a mere trifle in the class warfare.

    1. “The use of “n____” and “b____” are gratuitous and for some provocative as “addressing her with racial slurs” would have sufficed.”

      Who says that “addressing her with racial slurs” would be less provocative?

      1. It is obvious. No words are written.

        1. But it’s also obvious that “n____” and “b____” are not provocative. And no words are written.

    2. For one thing, they didn’t address the employee with those terms as she wasn’t there. They described her with them in a private meeting.

      For another, the idea of what constitutes a racial slur varies and it’s often necessary to know the exact term. For example, a program dedicated to teaching young girls electronics was embroiled in controversy a few years ago and is nearly dead now because a black woman felt that being called “negative” was a slur.

      1. It does not matter whether or not she was there.It is a hypothetical and one that would be probable to occur in many work environments.
        as for the negative woman, one can’t help if some people are stupid. That lady might object to the US five cent piece because it is referred to as a n____.

        1. You referred to “addressing her with racial slurs.” If that had been the premise the principal question would’ve been moot.

          It doesn’t matter if the woman was stupid; it’s not like there are no stupid managers. The woman I was talking about had some authority within the organization. Because she felt that “n_______” was a slur an organization is nearly dead and a number of people have lost their jobs. Referring vaguely to “slurs” clearly isn’t sufficient when there’s such a divergence between what is considered a slur

      2. “a black woman felt that being called “negative” was a slur”

        Wow…

        In single phase AC*, a 240 volt circuit has three wires** — a black, a red, and a white. The white is safe to touch at any time, while the other two are *not* — it’s 120 volts between either and the white wire, and 240 volts between each other. Same thing to ground, i.e. your feet on the floor…

        And if the social justice warrior electricians have problems with this, we’re gonna have a lot of *dead* social justice warrior electricians.

        Likewise if you “jump” a car by connect two auto batteries in series rather than segregating positive and negative, you not only will get an excessively high voltage but quite likely have a battery explode. And take a bath in concentrated Sulfuric Acid — which also isn’t a healthy thing.

        It’s one thing to burn out (and possibly burn up) low voltage/low amperage electronic circuits, and I can see young boys (and some young girls) actually enjoying doing so. But as to the larger issues of safety, someone ought to have explained to the girl’s parents that body bags are black as well…

        * What most US houses and small buildings have.

        ** Under the new NEC, it actually has a fourth — a green which is a ground because they didn’t like the practice of running the small 120 volt loads (e.g. drier motor, oven light) to the frame. Now they are run to the neutral, with the metal frame attached to the ground — with both connected to each other at the breaker panel.

        1. She wasn’t a girl. It was a grown woman in a position of some authority. She had been complaining about everything in some meeting and afterwards someone asked her why she had been so negative about it. She decided she was being described as an “angry black woman,” which meant it was racist.

  26. Very special people had their feelings hurt, so something must be done.

    Pay very close attention. If something isn’t done when your feelings are hurt, that makes you one of the second-class Americans.

    Join the fight against those designating you second class or agree that you and your family are a subservient class and will be generation after generation, forever.

    1. “so something must be done.”

      Hitting them in the head with a 2×4 is something. Therefore we must hit them in the head with a 2×4.

  27. I have always known that there are certain words that are so offensive that they should never be said or written, but until now I didn’t realize that there are even single letters of the alphabet that should never be mentioned.

    1. “I have always known that there are certain words that are so offensive that they should never be said or written,”

      Me too, but what those words are varies quite a by both time and place.

    2. The letter Q is known to set off certain people into an epileptic fit. Something about always needing to be paired with another letter. Psychologists and neurologists debate whether the phenomenon is a neurological problem or based on something in the patient’s childhood.

      1. Good to see that public television is doing its part to deal with the problem:

        After Capitol Riots, Sesame Street Pulls All Episodes Featuring The Letter ‘Q’

        https://babylonbee.com/news/after-capitol-riots-sesame-street-drops-all-episodes-featuring-the-letter-q?utm_content=buffereef89&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

  28. (1) Reality and satire have now become one. The absurdity of the students’ letter, and the utter absurdity of the dean’s response are beyond comment.

    (2) The answer to the exam question is, if you intend to use her as a witness, you damn well better disclose her address. If you prevail, you may well get the expense of locating her as part of your attorney’s fees.

  29. I welcome the self-destruction of inferior law schools … too many damn lawyers as is.

  30. “In these times, it is impossible *not* to write satire.” — Juvenal.

  31. To be successful in its goal, the university should not teach the whole subject of discrimination. The entire subject inevitably leads to offensive matters being discussrd.

    Any attempt to teach anything about the subject of discrimination or to give students any preparation at all for comatting it in the world is completely incompatible with the school’s stated goal of being sn “anti-racist organizationz” by enabling minority students to feel completely comfortable. The whole subject is discomforting. Any attempt to teach it is completely incompatible with the school’s stated mission.

    The school should avoid the inevitable firings of professors who attempt to teach the subject by dropping the subject entirely. Either that, or modify the mission, recognize discrimination inevitably involves uncomfortable material if it is to be taught at all, more so if it is to be taught effectively, and accept it.

  32. “and who in that capacity has said that all professors at all law schools “must work to transform our schools into antiracist organizations””

    The problem with this (and the problem of professors trying to teach students to be good citizens in general) is that Law Schools don’t know any more about being anti-racist than anybody else.

    They’re supposed to know more about teaching law than anybody else.

    So they should do that.

  33. On the one hand, how are these students ever supposed to become actual lawyers, where they’ll have to deal with all the crap in the real world.

    On the other hand, he didn’t even use the slurs. Expurgating them shouldn’t be ‘triggering’ to any sensible person.

    On the third (!) hand, there’s a much broader problem here. In the story presented by the question, the managers who used those words are clearly the villains in this story. We know they’re villains, because they used those words. The students would demand that we can’t allow any evidence of villainy, because villainy is evil. But how can you tell a story with villains if the villains can’t do anything actually evil?

  34. Every question should have as much offensive content as possible because these things happen in the real world. Include gross photographs as well, maybe video of gruesome crimes. Those things happen, people. Should all be in the exam.

  35. Discussions such as this would shed more light if more people on each side gave the reader a sense of where they would draw the line between “scenarios where the instructor behavior was unreasonable” and “scenarios where the student complaints were unreasonable”, and why.

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