Society and Culture
Columbia Law Students Can Postpone Exams in Light of Grand Jury Decisions
There are some things that I have a hard time understanding and this is one of those instances. Columbia Law School has announced that it will allow its students to postpone their exams.
Why, you ask? Well my lovelies “the law school has a policy and set of procedures for students who experience trauma during exam period,” reads interim dean Robert Scott’s message to students this weekend. “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,” Scott continued. Scott is referencing the recent non-indictment decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases.
I understand that there are some differences of opinion in both cases over the grand juries’ decisions, but for a law school to concede to the notion that its own law students have been traumatized by them is just baffling. These students are literally spending entire months learning about the law but somehow may not be able to handle the outcomes of our justice system? Where is the logic in that? Columbia Law School just basically said that its law students do not understand the very thing they are learning.
Should a student have his own opinion and perspective on a subject? Absolutely! But should he be allowed to take advantage of the situation and get away with postponing his exams? Absolutely NOT!
If students cannot handle the decision of a grand jury, and fully understand that process, then they should drop out of school and find a new profession. Not everyone is indicted. Not everyone wins their case This should be the perfect time to teach students about the process, not coddle them. Plus, let’s be realistic: some of these students will take full advantage of a situation to buy themselves a little more time to study or do things they otherwise would not be able to do if they actually took their finals on the dates already scheduled.
Interim Dean Scott also states that “for some law students, particularly, though not only, students of color, this chain of events is all the more profound as it threatens to undermine a sense that the law is a fundamental pillar of society designed to protect fairness, due process and equality.” So, what it seems that he’s saying is that law students could very well have lost their respect and passion for the law because the grand jury’s made a decision based off of facts and testimony? I’m more miffed by the fact that this man thinks that law students will lose respect for the law because the grand jury did its job!
Laws are not perfect, people are not perfect and things don’t always go the way that you want, but to not be able to handle that reality is concerning.
I can appreciate that Columbia Law School is trying to take care of its students but this is not the way to go. Embrace the controversy and make this a learning moment for all.