Free Speech

George Will on the Gordon Klein Lawsuit Against UCLA

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From today's syndicated column:

Enforced conformity in the name of "diversity." Exclusion of intellectual heterodoxy to make campuses "inclusive." Orwellian language is spoken in academia. At the UCLA Anderson School of Management, a debacle began with a Kafkaesque touch, an antecedentless pronoun: "we."

The first words of a June 2, 2020, email, signed by one student, were: "We are writing to express our tremendous concern…." The writer, who is not Black, was tremendously concerned that the upcoming final exam in lecturer Gordon Klein's class would injure "the mental and physical health of our Black classmates." The writer said that "traumatic circumstances" -- e.g., the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis -- placed Black students at an "academic disadvantage." So, for Black students, Klein's final exam should count only if it elevated a student's grade….

[Dean Antonio] Bernardo and academic conformity enforcers like him are fluent in woke-speak and relish the applause that comes to those who speak it. They engage in cost-free virtue-signaling at others' expense. Now, however, such disagreeable people on campuses everywhere are on notice: They might be liable for the denials of constitutional rights, and for financial and reputation injuries, such as those about which Klein is suing.

The behavior of Bernardo and others at the Anderson School was clearly intended to have a chilling effect on speech. By his sturdy refusal to be chilled, and by his suit, Klein can help to deter such behavior.

For more on the lawsuit, see here.

NEXT: "Following Blackface Incident, Professor Bright Sheng Takes Step Back from Teaching [University of Michigan] Composition Course"

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  1. A race-related contribution to the Volokh Conspiracy that does not include publication of a vile racial slur?

    Progress!

    And let's hope this continues. The door to America's progress and mainstream should be open to everyone willing to be a productive part of it.

    1. That let’s out a lot of Liberals,

    2. Artie. All woke is to be destroyed. Shut down UCLA. To deter. All woke is case. Crush the scumbag lawyer profession. Artie, aren't you a lawyer. How does it feel to know the whole country wants you dead? I do not want you dead . I want you replaced by a diverse.

      1. I wouldn't kill him, and still less would I entrust the State with the task of killing him, but if a safe fell on his head I wouldn't mourn.

        1. This tiresome Boomer should be replaced by a diverse, black gay, female, deaf, blind, parlyzed, a real Helen Keller. After all, diversity is the strength of our country.

  2. And George keeps raising the blood pressure of liberals over at WAPO.

    Bless him.

    1. If Mr. Will continues to torment better Americans in this manner, they may need to stoop and scratch their ankles at some point.

      1. Progressives, possibly, but not Americans.

  3. "So, for Black students, Klein's final exam should count only if it elevated a student's grade…."

    IIRC there are two salient facts to enter into evidence here.

    1. The "We" email was in fact a form letter orchestrated campus wide that failed to consider:
    2. That the Final was the only graded activity in the course, thus no finals would lower the ultimate grade of Fail. A successful final meant one with pass with a grade of greater than F

    disclosure: 4+ Decades ago, I was a student at the Anderson School.

    1. Wasn't the issue with the professor the tone of his response email? Not that he didn't kowtow to the demand? Not that I expect George Will to recognize that...

      1. TBH, the tone of the email response from Professor Klein was direct, and to the point. I can see how maybe someone could say the tone was....tart. It is abundantly clear that Professor Klein is a man with a brain and he was having none of the woke bullshit. Glad he is standing his ground.

        1. Yeah, I have no issue there. I have issue with people ratcheting the school telling him to watch his tone with everything actually said in Will's column, as they are distinct.

          1. I have issue with people ratcheting the school telling him to watch his tone with everything actually said in Will’s column, as they are distinct.

            What are you trying to say?

            The Anderson School admin did not merely "tell[ Klein] to watch his tone". From Will: "On June 3, the next day, it placed Klein on involuntary administrative leave, accusing him of violating unspecified provisions of the university's Faculty Code of Conduct."

      2. Klein's email is not so hard to find that you should still be ignorant of its tone.

        Thanks for your suggestion in your email below that I give black students special treatment, given the tragedy in Minnesota. Do you know the names of the classmates that are black? How can I identify them since we’ve been having online classes only? 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? A full concession or just half? Also, 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 be possibly even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they’re racist even if they are not. My TA is from Minneapolis, so if you don’t know, I can probably ask her. Can you guide me on how you think I should achieve a “no-harm” outcome since our sole course grade is from a final exam only? 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? Thanks, G. Klein

        1. Yeah, I think 'tartly worded' is the right description - heh, heh. If that pupil is truly offended by that, he should come see my work email inbox by 6am. He'd probably have an cerebral aneurysm on the spot. 🙂

    2. The "We" email may have been copied and pasted into the pupil's email, but the pupil's email was apparently not merely a forwarding of the moronic demand letter. https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/10/ucla-prof-gordon-klein-explains-why-he-is-suing-the-school/

      1. Pupil is accurate; NFW the kid was a student.

        1. Pupil seems inaccurate to me, the kid appears to be a different type of sphincter entirely.

  4. More than ten years ago I took a marketing class at UCLA with professors from the Anderson School. They were excellent. This is a disgrace. Let's start suing all the woke bastards. That's how things are settled in this country.

  5. I for one think we should all be hearing the name of the student who wrote the original complaint arguing that black students are inherently inferior to white students and need special consideration in order to receive passing grades that, according to this student, they can't earn on their own.

    1. I think it's fair to say that if there was an exam and the question was "Did the student say that Black students are inferior to the white students?" The answer would objectively be "no" but good on you for showing your "reading" skills.

      1. I think it’s fair to say that if there was an exam and the question was “Did the student say that Black students are inferior to the white students?” The answer would objectively be “no” but good on you for showing your “reading” skills.

        https://www.dictionary.com/browse/implication

        1. It's more telling to you that you think that was the implication when it's pretty clear from the letter that the student was referring to the fact that they were distracted by the largest US protest movement ever, one of which was directly related to their very lives and livelihoods. And you might not agree with the student, but it's clear that's what the student said. That you keep twisting that into "blacks are stupid compared to whites" means just that you are a disgusting bigot who can't help but think "blacks are stupider than whites" because there is no reason to think that in this case when the student said otherwise.

          1. I'll bite and come to his defense. It is easy to read into what "we" is asking to be racist in nature. While you may believe that it is "directly related to their very lives and livelihoods"... it is not. Floyd did not happen on campus, not in the neighborhood, not in the city, not in the state... it was a single event almost 2k miles away from campus.
            It is not hard to read into "we"'s letter that he does not believe that black students are capable of turning that out and focusing on their studies... which, by the way, very much is "directly related to their very lives and livelihoods".

            I would suggest a non-racist person would be inclined to believe that a student can choose to be distracted by such events or not and that is on them.

            On the by the by... if were me at that school at the time (more or less), I am of the personality that would likely have orchestrated a number of similar letters...
            From: Jewish Anit-Defamation League - RE: Young Republications need to have their grades forgiven due to the theft of The Donald's election.
            From A Hispanic (no X) Fraternity - RE: Women should be let out of of exams over the pain and memories brought about by Harvey Weinstein and #MeToo.
            From: LBGTQ+JLKSLDK*(&UJ$LKL#5lsk3 et al RE: Everyone on the Ultimate Frisbee League needs to have their grades forgiven due to the death of Tom Petty (Birkenstock wearers should also have their grades rounded up).

            1. Trump supporters should all get A's b/c they saw Ashlii Babbitt gratuitously murdered a lot more clearly than Floyd, and with no consequences for the murderer.

              1. This is getting somber, so . . .

                Knock, knock!

                Who's there?

                Not Ashli Babbitt. Not anymore.

                (I spelled her name correctly, to demonstrate respect.)

                1. Nothing like turning her murder into a "knock, knock" joke to demonstrate respect, Kookland style.

                  No, I didn't click on your video link.

                  1. If you have information concerning a murder, Gandydancer, the sole responsible course would be to report your information to the relevant law enforcement authority.

                    If not, and instead you are just spouting partisan nonsense, the only reasonable course would be to leave the discussion to competent adults.

                    (Mighty Max fans should listen closely at 4:45 or so)

                2. Rev cuntland showing us his "betters"...fucking parasite

            2. "Floyd did not happen on campus, not in the neighborhood, not in the city, not in the state… it was a single event almost 2k miles away from campus."

              Why is it that Floyd would have to happen there? So much so that because it didn't happen there, the only reasonable conclusion is that he's saying black people are dumber than white? That doesn't make sense at all.

              "I would suggest a non-racist person would be inclined to believe that a student can choose to be distracted by such events or not and that is on them."

              And, the student said that in light of those that were, could there be a break given to them? I'm not saying the student's request should be granted, or that's it's reasonable. But once again I struggle to understand how this actually evidences that he must've meant that black people are stupider than white people....

              "On the by the by… if were me at that school at the time (more or less), I am of the personality that would likely have orchestrated a number of similar letters…"
              So what? That's besides the point. The validity of the student's request has nothing to do with whether or not you think Black people are stupider than white people. Now, I never thought that, and I don't see how it makes sense here, and nothing you said was convincing otherwise. Good for you for getting out your feelings about other groups... you surely haven't proven me right.

            3. "It is not hard to read into “we”‘s letter that he does not believe that black students are capable of turning that out and focusing on their studies… which, by the way, very much is “directly related to their very lives and livelihoods”."

              Okay? I never said studying wasn't related to their livelihoods. Are you slow? Are you dumber than however dumb you seem to think black people are? You can redd that into the statement because it's what you want to see there, but I have yet to see you provide a good reason for anyone to believe that's what he actually meant (let alone that it's clearly the case!)

              1. Maybe I am slow, but at least I am not the pedantic asshole who feels they have to constantly result to personal insults of those that don't agree with them.

                To ignore your childish schoolyard antics for the moment, I will give it a shot:

                First, I don't think anyone, but you, said "clearly", only that it can be read as.

                The author wrote that traumatic events creates mental and physical health issues and put black students at an "academic disadvantage" based on NOTHING but the color of their skin.

                Not only is the author making the assumption, based on nothing but color, that these events are in fact traumatic to these a group of students, the author is also implying that those said students are so traumatized that they are at an academic disadvantage. Again, based solely on color.

                These traumatic events are not the only ones which students are subject to... pregnancies', sexual assaults', death of those who are actually close to the student, hazing, etc. creates all sorts of mental and physical health issues which students are generally expected to overcome.

                The author seems to think that because they are black, they should both care about the event surrounding George Floyd a whole lot AND that they should be coddled for it.

                1. I don't resort to personal insults because we disagree. I resorted to personal insults because you are here doing logical backflips to insist that the students request meant black people are dumber than whites when it's clearly not the case that he meant that. You insist that its implied but it's obvious that anyone in his position wouldn't think black people are dumber than him. It's just such a stupid argument on your part. That you insist I should treat it with some form of respect just shows how delusional you are. Let alone the irony of you insisting that speech should be cordial while you are illogically insisting this kid meant that black people are dumber than white people, clearly against his intent and meaning.

                2. "The author wrote that traumatic events creates mental and physical health issues and put black students at an “academic disadvantage” based on NOTHING but the color of their skin."

                  It's not based on nothing but the color of their skin. It's based on the fact that he said they were suffering trauma and physical health issues. Are you fucking illiterate or something? It's on your own damn quote...

                  "Not only is the author making the assumption, based on nothing but color, that these events are in fact traumatic to these a group of students, the author is also implying that those said students are so traumatized that they are at an academic disadvantage. Again, based solely on color."

                  "These traumatic events are not the only ones which students are subject to… pregnancies’, sexual assaults’, death of those who are actually close to the student, hazing, etc. creates all sorts of mental and physical health issues which students are generally expected to overcome."
                  Okay, and your point being? Just because I say frats shouldn't have hazing policies that lead to death doesn't mean I need to comment on pregnancies, sexual assault, or abortions. Perhaps this student has written other dumb letters. Nevertheless, it obviously doesn't mean he thinks black people are dumber than white people. It's you that does and that's why you keep coming up with rhetorically fallacious arguments that you think prove your point. It's certainly not a surprise to me that someone this racist is also this dumb. They really do go hand in hand.

          2. In other words, the white students didn't give a shit about Floyd George, and are therefore racist by virtue of not being black, and on and on and on it goes.

            Or is it that the white students do care as much as the black students, but are less easily distracted, which makes them superior?

            Or maybe the whole woke thing is utter bullshit from beginning to end.

            1. My impression was that the student's request implied that white students weren't as affected, but I think what you read into it is SLIGHTLY more reasonable than assuming the student meant that black people must be stupider than white people.

          3. That you keep twisting that into “blacks are stupid compared to whites”

            Even forgetting your mischaracterization, that you claim I "keep" doing something when this was my very first comment on that subject would suggest that you're either stupid, a liar..or both.

            means just that you are a disgusting bigot who can’t help but think “blacks are stupider than whites”

            Are you rehearsing for the role of "projection" in a play about psychological phenomenon?

            1. The claim that Floyd succumbing to Fentanyl poisoning was more disabling for Black students than anything ever experienced by whites (no suggestion ever having been made that white students ever deserved such special treatment) absolutely implies that blacks are fragile in a way that Whites are not.

              1. The claim that Floyd's murder was "poisoning" absolutely implies that you are a racist p.o.s.

                1. Careful — he is a racist p.o.s, but he is nonetheless your side’s racist p.o.s, and your side needs every racist p.o.s it can get.

                  1. What I've discerned from over a decade of DMN's comments, he's a libertarian. Often anti-left and often, especially in the current Trump era, anti-right. Which side does that put him on?

            2. In what way have I ever suggested that I think black people are stupid compared to whites? I claim you "keep" doing it, because you do all sorts of illogical backflips to justify the belief, repeatedly, in the same post.

              1. I claim you “keep” doing it, because you do all sorts of illogical backflips to justify the belief, repeatedly, in the same post.

                LOL! My entire post consisted of a direct quote from you, followed by a link to an online dictionary definition.

                Your compulsion to be a lying sack of shit completely blinds you to what an utter moron you make yourself out to be.

                1. Yes, which constituted you repeating the same fallacious and incredibly stupid argument that was brought up in the post I responded to and you quoted... You're really not as smart as you think. Not to say I'm some sort of genius, but come on dude. You are the one arguing the student meant something that he quite obviously didn't (because he's a snowflake liberal POS softie and he thinks everyone is equal).

                  1. Yes, which constituted you repeating the same fallacious and incredibly stupid argument that was brought up in the post I responded to and you quoted

                    I didn't quote/repeat any argument. I posted a link to a dictionary entry, you illiterate (and lying) twit.

          4. Wow, and if they were being "distracted" to the point their studies suffered, maybe that's a learning moment for them that they should pay attention to more important things, or at least that they have to make trade offs in life and if they want to put more effort into outrage, other parts of their life will suffer.

  6. Use of the royal "we" by a commoner should be a sign of mental illness sufficient to justify involuntary confinement.

    1. I point out megalomania isn't a mental disease. Like an ant colony, every and might think they are the queen. But not only is one right, it is arguably important they be full of themselves to wield that power, confident in their rightness, rather than some timid who fears to move.

      I am not sure such a person would give good policy, but from an evolutionary point of the species as a whole, such an attitude might be useful for the very few who use it, like nipples, unused by (more than half) of the population, or men with forlorn erections who never reproduced. Your weener, like your megalomania, is a feature of the species as a whole.

    2. I actually had to read the article a couple of times to see if "we" was because the author was speaking for a group, or if the author was using non-binary pronouns. Hell, I am still not sure.

      ... been binge watching Billons and running into the same issue at times.

  7. A more politic response may have been: "Thank you for your suggestion. i will give it careful consideration. " Instead he chose to slug it out with a student like he was on the comment page here at VC. I agree with what the Professor said but I think he exhibited poor judgment -- unless his objective was to escalate the public profile of this silly request.

    1. But in responding as he did he served the very valuable service of exposing those who terminated him for simply being insufficiently "politic". Raising the public awareness of this sort or academic stupidity is a good thing.

        1. You too assist in this self-exposing endeavour.

        2. See my earlier question re: projection.

          1. And it's just as stupid here. I obviously don't think black people are dumber than white people... but you seriously thought it'd be a good point to bring up as if I did? Because? Because you were the one arguing the student means black people are dumber than white people? Yeah, it's clear that's what YOU think his speech ultimately means, but nobody who isn't a fucking moron would think that's actually what the student meant.

            1. but nobody who isn’t a fucking moron

              And if there's one thing your posts make clear, you're the foremost authority on being a fucking moron.

    2. As Will points out, Socratic dialogue has a long pedigree.

      Klein's judgment was fine unless he would in retrospect regret the (temporary?) loss of consulting income more than enjoy this trampling of the woke Anderson admins.

    3. Why? He asked the student to think through his request, how it was targeted and how it should be applied. If that is too much for the activist then they have no business anywhere near management on a company. Or we could coddle them like you want because the are so fragile any pushback is too much.

    4. I disagree. This was a teaching moment and the professor raised important questions that, ideally, a student would actually think about. "Thanks" and ignoring it does not accomplish that.

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