UCLA prof sues over suspension for refusing to be more lenient with black students, reveals dirty little secret

The key reason behind the Democrats’ shift away from “equality” in favor of “equity” played out in a lawsuit filed this week by a UCLA professor, who was suspended after refusing to mark black students’ work more leniently — it’s not equal treatment the left seeks, but preferred treatment.

Gordon Klein, a lecturer in accounting at the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, was briefly suspended in the summer of 2020 after declining a request to give black students easier final exams in response to the death of George Floyd, and he sued the university for defamation and loss of financial opportunities, according to The Washington Times.

On Wednesday, Klein filed suit in state court against the UCLA dean, Antonio Bernardo, the University of California Board of Regents, and other unnamed “co-conspirators,” telling the Times, “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.’ I have the legal skills and training to do so, so I’m stepping up.”

Klein, who has a law degree, also maintained a highly successful private consulting practice, which took a financial hit after the controversy, according to the lawsuit, which said Bernardo and the others effectively organized a smear campaign against Klein after he turned down a “non-black” student’s request that black students be given “no harm” final exams because of emotional turmoil Floyd’s death may have caused, the Times reported. Pointing out that since COVID restrictions resulted in online classes only at the time, the professor rejected the proposal saying he had no way of knowing for sure which students were black.

“This may become the first time people engaged in cancel culture are brought before the bar,” he said. “They act with impunity when they can be keyboard warriors and think there are no consequences. Well, maybe that is finally going to change.”

The lawsuit said that after an alleged request from Bernardo to fire Klein, the dean would settle for suspending him. But a damning footnote in the legal document suggested that the school had good reason to take a hardline stance.

“The UCLA Anderson School had substantial reasons to be concerned about its reputation,” the document said. “Upon information and belief, out of approximately 200 faculty members, only one black professor has tenure and the school has not granted tenure to a black professor in over four decades.”

Klein wrote an op-ed published Thursday on Bari Weiss’ Substack, which began: “Recently, I was suspended from my job for refusing to treat my black students as lesser than their non-black peers.”

He explained that he has 40 years of experience and has taught 15 different courses, in finance, accounting and law, and has appeared on CNBC and been quoted in The Wall Street Journal.

“My saga — which nearly led to my firing — began on the morning of June 2, 2020, when a non-black student in my class on tax principles and law emailed me to ask that I grade his black classmates with greater ‘leniency’ than others in the class. […] The student then requested that the final be a ‘no harm’ exam — meaning it should be counted only if it boosted one’s grade,” Klein wrote.

Noting that the student drew on UCLA’s “Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion” agenda, which Klein said “directs professors to grant preferential ‘equity’ to students belonging to ‘underrepresented groups,'” he then dismantled the corruption of these principles.

“I wholeheartedly support these principles as most of us understand them. I think all human beings should be treated the same. I welcome — I celebrate — a diversity of opinions and arguments,” Klein said. “And, to say the least, I believe in making room for anyone with the grades and gumption to study at one of the nation’s most competitive universities.”

“But academia has so corrupted these words that they are now hollowed out corpses devoid of their original meaning,” he added. “Today, ‘diversity’ means ideological homogeneity. And ‘inclusion’ means the exclusion of some from a taxpayer-supported university to favor others deemed more deserving of an educational springboard to prosperity.”

He detailed how students began calling for his job and circulated a petition demanding that he be fired.

“I was attacked for being a white man and ‘woefully racist.’ On June 5, three days after I was first emailed, I was suspended amid a growing online campaign directed at me,” Klein shared. “It was around that time that I started to receive death threats on voicemail and email. One email, dated June 11, read: ‘You are a typical bigoted, prejudiced and racist dirty, filthy, crooked, arrogant Jew kike mother f**ker! Too bad Hitler and the Nazis are not around to give you a much needed Zyklon B shower.’ About a week after this whole thing first blew up, there were police officers stationed outside my house. (It would take UCLA’s threat manager, Chris Silva, another ten days to check in with me to make sure I was okay.)”

He then touched on what the lawsuit noted about “diversity” at UCLA.

“Anderson administrators were rattled, and for good reason,” he said. “But not because of the fact that my life was now being threatened. The problem was Anderson’s reputation. It hadn’t granted an African-American professor tenure in decades. It had but a handful of tenured Latino professors. Black students made up about two percent of the student body. And men outnumbered women roughly two-to-one, leading many students to call Anderson the MANderson School of MANagement.”

Klein closed with this thought: “This is not just about principle. It’s also about the United States’ ability to compete. Anderson, like elite business schools across the country, is supposed to be training the next generation of innovators. The people who will muster the imagination and fortitude to create life-changing technologies and lead groundbreaking multinationals. If we don’t maintain our standards — if we’re not allowed to push all of our students to do their very best — we will be disarming unilaterally. I refuse to do that, and I’m convinced, this recent episode notwithstanding, that most of my students and colleagues feel the same way.”


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