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A professor at the University of California Los Angeles said he filed suit against the school system for suspending him as he faced backlash for not grading black students more leniently in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.
"Recently, I was suspended from my job for refusing to treat my black students as lesser than their non-black peers," Gordon Klein, the professor behind the suit, said in an op-ed.
Eight days after Floyd, a black man, died in Minneapolis following a May 2020 arrest (for which a now-former police officer has been convicted of murder), a white student emailed Klein asking for a "no harm" final for black students given the racially charged "unjust murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd," according to Klein.
"[It's] not a joint effort to get finals canceled for non-black students, but rather an ask that you exercise compassion and leniency with black students in our major," the email allegedly stated.
The response to the student's "patronizing" email asked why black students should be singled out, Klein said.
"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?" he wrote back. "I assume that they are probably especially devastated as well. I am thinking that a white student from there might possibly be even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they're racist even if they are not."
His response was deemed "racist" by several students, who then formed a petition of over 20,000 signatures demanding his termination.
"I was attacked for being a white man and 'woefully racist.'" Klein said. "On June 5, three days after I was first emailed, I was suspended amid a growing online campaign directed at me."
Around this time, he received death threats and disparaging remarks about his Jewish heritage, the professor said.
"You are a typical bigoted, prejudiced and racist dirty, filthy, crooked, arrogant Jew ... Too bad Hitler and the Nazis are not around to give you a much needed Zyklon B shower," one email allegedly read.
UCLA Anderson School of Management Dean Antonio Bernardo suspended Klein without deliberation and banned him from campus, the professor claimed.
"He apparently reasoned that a well-timed publicity stunt might distract attention away from the school's reputation as an inhospitable place for persons of color — to say nothing of its plummeting rankings in U.S. News and World Report and Bloomberg Businessweek," he said.
When his story broke, over 76,000 people signed a petition to have him return, Klein said.
"Less than three weeks after this whole thing blew up, I was reinstated," he said. "But this story is not over."
The professor said he returned after three weeks but alleges he suffered great financial loss, severe emotional distress, trauma, and physical ailments, according to his op-ed.
"I have just filed a lawsuit against the University of California system," Klein said. "No employee should ever cower in fear of his employer's power to silence legitimate points of view, and no society should tolerate government-sponsored autocrats violating constitutional mandates."
The Washington Examiner reached out to UCLA for comment but did not receive an immediate response.
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Original Author: Luke Gentile