Ivy League law school delays finals for students traumatized by Ferguson
- Columbia Law School told students they can reschedule their finals if they feel they have been “sufficiently impaired” by the non-indictments of Darren Wilson and Eric Gardner.
- University officials expanded office hours to console students who are suffering from incident-related trauma.
Columbia Law School is encouraging students who feel they are “sufficiently impaired” following the non-indictment of police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, to reschedule their final exams.
“In accordance with these procedures and policy, students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effects of these recent events may petition Dean Alice Rigas to have an examination rescheduled,” read a message sent to students by interim dean Robert Scott, as reported by PowerLine.
Several professors have also conceded to provide additional office hours for students who would “like support/to talk about the implications of the [deaths of Michael] Brown and [Eric] Garner non-indictments.” The school also arranged to have trauma specialist, Dr. Shirley Matthews speak to students dealing with incident-related trauma Monday and Wednesday of this week.
“I support the idea of an open community dialogue to discuss the concerns of students in the wake of recent events, and to share diverse and collective notions of injustice that these cases raise. I will encourage all members of our community to attend,” Scott wrote students.
Several faculty members have agreed to develop “a reading group, speaker series, and/or longitudinal teach-in next semester” to discuss and educate those in attendance on racial meanings of non-indictments.
“In closing let me just add my hope that through these and other efforts all members of the Columbia Law School community can can [sic] come to have a greater sense of mutual support and trust,” concludes Scott.
It is not clear how long students will be able to prolong their final exams, nor does it clarify what qualifies them as “sufficiently impaired.”
However, Columbia is not the only Ivy League school worried about student trauma. Harvard Law School’s Affinity Group Coalition wrote a series of letters to Dean Martha Minow and school administrators on Dec. 7 requesting exam extensions, claiming students are “dutybound to dedicate their time mobilizing for justice.”
“We have no faith in our justice system, which systematically oppresses black and brown people,” reads the group’s initial letter addressing administrators. “We are afraid for our lives and for the lives of our families. We are in pain. And we are tired.”
Additional stipulations addressed in the letter include demands that faculty “end the deafening silence” and address the student body with regards to the recent events; acknowledge “trauma as legitimate and worthy of response;” and host on-going discussions, forums, and safe spaces for students.
The group requested affirmation of their requests by Dec. 8. However, it is not yet clear how many of the requests will be met, if at all.
Via Daily Caller.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @MaggieLitCRO