Columbia Students Postpone Final Exams Due to Trauma


Columbia Law School is allowing its college students who have undergone “trauma” from the latest grand jury selections in New York and Missouri to postpone their ultimate exams.

College students at the college received an electronic mail from Interim Dean Robert Scott announcing that students who felt that latest occasions surrounding Michael Brown’s and Eric Garner’s deaths have “sufficiently impaired” their capacity to carry out adequately on their exams could request to postpone them.

“The grand juries’ determinations to return non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner situations have shaken the faith of some in the integrity of the grand jury system and in the law much more usually,” Scott said.

The decisions he is speaking of refer to the November 24 and December three choices by two separate grand juries to not charge white police officers in the killings of the unarmed black guys Michael Brown (Ferguson, Missouri) and Eric Garner (Staten Island, New York).  After the rulings had been created public, protests have risen across the country with strong involvement from the pupil demographic.

Columbia University allows exam rescheduling beneath the school’s trauma policy.  According to Scott, the events “threaten to undermine a sense that the law is a basic pillar of society made to safeguard fairness, due procedure and equality,” allowing college students to postpone their last exams.  The school’s site exhibits the exams operating by way of December 17.

“Our trauma will be current with us on exam day, our trauma is inhibiting us from sleeping at evening, and our trauma is ever-current between the words in our textbooks,” the Columbia student coalition wrote in an open letter. “We are now asked to use the same legal maneuvers and language on our exams this Monday that was used to deny justice to so several Black and Brown bodies.”

Scott continued his e mail by suggesting students discuss the events with their professor, and that he would like the conversation to continue subsequent semester for the duration of a amount of events such as a faculty-run speaker series and teach-in.  The occasions will supply students the possibility to go over the law as it pertains to the two cases.

College students at other law schools, including Harvard and Georgetown, are now asking for the identical treatment method regarding the delay in taking their exams.  In addition, there has been a push on many campuses for discussions about the occasions to take location, with such happenings currently going on at Yale in Connecticut, New York University in New York and Stanford in California.

In an open letter to Dean Ellen Cosgrove, the Harvard Law School Affinity Group Coalition asked for a delay in their exams. “Delaying exams is not without precedent,” the coalition stated. “In 1970, Harvard Law School faculty voted to delay all exams in response to demands by students participating in anti­war protests.”   However, the Dean denied their request.

The college students at Georgetown experienced similar outcomes, requesting their exams be delayed due to “extraordinary conditions.”  In addition, they asked for their deans to make a public statement on the grand jury selections.  This has not occurred but.

Critics of Columbia’s move claim the school is carrying out a disservice to their students.  According to Eugene Volokh, who teaches cost-free speech law at UCLA College of Law, allowing college students to postpone their exams creates “expectations and attitudes” that will not assist them later in life.

He asked, “Where would the civil rights motion have been if civil rights lawyers were so traumatized by injustice that they couldn’t perform efficiently without deadline extensions?”

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