University of California at Los Angeles: Lecturer on Leave After Email Declining Course Changes Over George Floyd Protests

Category: Free Speech
Schools: University of California, Los Angeles

On June 3, 2020, Continuing Lecturer Gordon Klein was placed on mandatory leave after an email he sent to a student went viral. The student emailed Klein on June 2 requesting altered final exam and grading procedures for black students due to the fear, anxiety, and trauma they were experiencing in the wake of the homicide of George Floyd. Klein’s response declining to change the requirements of his course for any student on the basis of race—following both university policy and a recent directive from his departmental supervisor—was shared widely online, leading to a petition and social media calls for his termination. FIRE wrote to UCLA on June 10, calling on the university to reinstate Klein, whose email and course management decisions are protected by the First Amendment and academic freedom. In September 2020, Klein confirmed to FIRE that he had been reinstated and would not be disciplined.