Professor Suspended for Declining to Give Black Students Easier Exams Sues UCLA

A professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) who was severely punished and suspended by UCLA after he refused to implement a different grading policy solely for black students sued the school Wednesday, accusing it of defamation and loss of financial opportunities.

Gordon Klein, a lecturer in accounting at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA filed his case in LA and announced on Bari Weiss's Substack Honestly. According to media reports, the lawsuit has been filed against the school's dean, Antonio Bernardo, the University of California Board of Regents, and a host of unnamed "co-conspirators."

UCLA professor Gordon Klein
UCLA professor Gordon Klein UCLA

Klein Declined a Request that Black Students Get Easier Final Exams

This dispute originated in June 2020 when Klein was asked by a group of non-black students to grade their black classmates more leniently. They wanted him to give them a "no-harm" final exam that "will only benefit students' grades if taken," they wrote in an email.

The group said unequal treatment should be given because black classmates are "facing directly the consequences of state-sanctioned violence and graphic content on social media that reaches from Minneapolis to our hometowns and our own communities in Westwood." It appears they were referencing the police killing of George Floyd, reported The Epoch Times.

Klein was Suspended and Smeared as a Racist

Klein replied with a tongue-in-cheek email, and refused to discriminate. He rejected this request, knowing that his employment contract – and California law – required him to apply the same grading standards and requirements to all students.

Some furious individuals called Klein "woefully racist" and organized an online campaign to attack Klein. The Anderson School hastily buckled under this pressure and sought permission from the University to impose disciplinary sanctions on Klein, including terminating his employment.

He was suspended and banned from the campus.

Six weeks later, however, Klein was exonerated. But the damage was done.

Klein Faced Career and Emotional Damages

Klein said he was suing for unspecified damages "not only to redress the wrongful conduct he has endured, but also to protect academic freedom."

Klein, writing on Weiss' Substack on Thursday, said he found the request "deeply patronizing and offensive to the same black students he claimed to care so much about."

"I did this because the school has continued to retaliate against me, and other scholars are facing retaliation, and I thought it was important for someone to step up and say, 'enough,'" Klein told The Washington Times. "I have the legal skills and training to do so, so I'm stepping up."

UCLA Twitter

Social Media Reactions

Netizens supported Klein and slammed UCLA for racial discrimination. One user wrote, "We need more teachers to stand up to these colleges. Good for him..." Another wrote, "A rare act of principle from a professor. Hope he wins millions."

One comment read, "Favoritism helps no one!" Another comment read, "What about every time cops shoot a white person? Should white students get an easier assignment? No because that would be racist and illegal."

One user shared, "If I was black, I would be insulted by this idea of needing "easier exams." They, PROGRESSIVES, are saying blacks can't cut it therefore you have to cut them some slack. How insulting."