As thousands of Ivy League students across the nation benefit from delayed final examinations after expressing how they feel traumatized by the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, one professor at a top university is not following the pack.
Professor Michael Raney at Oberlin College in Ohio – which holds the distinction of being one of the first institutions of higher learning in the country to enroll African-Americans and women – sent a simple, clear, and arguably “dismissive” response to a student’s request that he postpone his statistics exam: “No.”
The student wrote Raney a lengthy email request in which she admitted that, although she is a “white, middle-class person,” many of her peers do not have the “privilege” she does to “step away from these events and put enough energy into schoolwork,” reports Reason.com. She then referred to examples being set by other respectable universities, including Columbia Law School, which is delaying final exams because of the grand jury decisions. Students at Harvard University Law School and Georgetown University Law Center are reportedly asking for the same concession, reports the Washington Post.
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The student accused Oberlin’s administration of “doing very little” to support students who are struggling to accept the law as it is, and asked Raney to use his power to change the exam date.
After Raney responded with a one-word reply, the furious student reportedly posted the email exchange on Facebook, along with the message: “TRIGGER WARNING: Violent language regarding an extremely dismissive response from a professor. This is an email exchange I had with my professor this evening. ... We are obviously not preaching to the choir. Professors and administration at Oberlin need to be held accountable for their words and actions and have a responsibility to their students.”
In response to this incident, more than 1,300 Oberlin undergraduates have reportedly signed a petition that insisted “no student, especially black students and students of color, should be failing a class this semester. A ‘C’ should be the lowest grade students can receive this semester.”
Oberlin President Marvin Krislov sent an email to students on Sunday, saying he and the administration considered their request but have decided not to delay final examinations.