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UCLA Prof. Gordon Klein Sues After Suspension and Smears For Refusing Preferential Exam Treatment For Black Students

UCLA Prof. Gordon Klein Sues After Suspension and Smears For Refusing Preferential Exam Treatment For Black Students

“This dispute originated in June 2020 when a non-black student asked Plaintiff to grade his “Black classmates” differently than other students. Plaintiff rejected this request….

In the weeks and months after the death of George Floyd a vicious and malicious cancel culture purge swept academia, with professors who expressed views not in complete sync with radical campus opinion being subjected to firings and attempted firings, harassment and intimidation, and defamation.

Some of the cases we covered in that time period included St. Joseph’s Math Professor Gregory Manco, Harvard Law Professor Adrian Vermeule, Cornell Chemistry Prof. David Collum, UCF Psychology Prof. Charles Negy, U. Chicago Geophysicist Prof. Dorian Abbot, McGill Univ. Anthropology Emeritus Prof. Philip Carl Salzman, U. Miami Law Prof. Dan Ravicher, USC Business Prof. Greg Patton, Princeton Classics Prof. Joshua Katz, several Skidmore College professors, University of North Texas Music Theory Prof. Timothy Jackson, Michigan State Physics Prof. Stephen Hsu, and of course, me. Since then, the list has expanded.

In many if not most of the cases, Presidents, Deans, and other administrators were aiders and abetters.

But of all the cases, the attack on Prof. Gordon Klein at UCLA’s Anderson Business School was perhaps the most insane – truly other-worldly.

Prof. Klein’s alleged offense was that he insisted on treating black students equally. He refused a request by a white student to allow black students preferential treatment on final exams. Because such a racial preference would violate UCLA’s anti-discrimination policies (and maybe even the law), Klein refused. Students then launched a defamatory campaign against Prof. Klein, and the cowards who run UCLA’s Anderson School capitulated, denouncing and suspending Klein. He eventually was reinstated — because he did absolutely nothing wrong — but not before his reputation and career were severely damaged.

We covered Prof. Klein’s situation initially in these posts:

Prof. Klein has just filed a lawsuit in California state court, and among the things he wants, is for UCLA administrators to be held personally liable.

In the Complaint, Prof. Klein alleges, among other things:


1. Plaintiff Gordon Klein (“Plaintiff”), a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (“UCLA” or “University”), was severely punished by UCLA after he refused to implement a different grading policy solely for black students.

2. This dispute originated in June 2020 when a non-black student asked Plaintiff to grade his “Black classmates” differently than other students. Plaintiff rejected this request, knowing that his employment contract – and California law – required him to apply the same grading standards and requirements to all students. He also refused because his faculty supervisor recently had encouraged instructors to reject requests for special exam accommodations.

3. After Plaintiff’s email reply to the student was posted on social media, some furious individuals called Plaintiff “woefully racist” and organized an online campaign to attack Plaintiff and the UCLA Anderson School of Management (“Anderson School”), where Plaintiff teaches. The Anderson School hastily buckled under this pressure and sought permission from the University to impose disciplinary sanctions on Plaintiff, including terminating his employment.1 But, as noted below, the University rebuffed the Anderson School, warning that “the School may not take any action . . . at this time” against Plaintiff.

4. Despite this firm directive, the Anderson School administration abruptly suspended Plaintiff from his teaching duties, banned him from its campus, and hired others to replace him in future scheduled courses. Moreover, the Dean of the Anderson School, Defendant Antonio Bernardo (“Bernardo”), disparaged Plaintiff to alumni and the general public based on the private communications between Plaintiff and the student who had requested preferential race-based grading policies (“Student”). Dean Bernardo even went so far as to publicly disclose the adverse personnel action the School had improperly imposed on Plaintiff.

5. After examining the facts, the University eventually closed its investigation and reinstated Plaintiff.2 Later, the UCLA Senate Committee on Academic Freedom criticized the Anderson School administration, noting that it had violated Plaintiff’s rights and, more broadly, that such conduct “chills” instructors from expressing views that differ from prevailing campus orthodoxy.

6. Plaintiff brings this action not only to redress the wrongful conduct he has endured but also to protect academic freedom.

The Complaint provides details on the nature of preferential treatment demanded and the shameful capitulation at the Anderson School:

19. After the homicide of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, a group of students and others initiated a coordinated email campaign for the claimed purpose of encouraging UCLA instructors to grant final exam accommodations for their “Black classmates.”

20. These students circulated online a document entitled “Letter Writing for Finals Accommodations for Black Students.” This template asked professors to adopt grading policies that “exercise compassion and leniency with Black students.” In particular, according to the Student, an objective of this template was to encourage professors to give only black students optional, “no-harm” final exams. A “no-harm” exam is a test whose score is counted as part of a student’s course grade only if it raises the student’s overall blended course average, but not if it diminishes it.6 Students who take an exam on a “no-harm” basis thus tend to receive higher course grades than those who do not….

22. On or about June 1, 2020, in apparent response to this concerted email campaign, Plaintiff’s immediate supervisor at the Anderson School, Professor Judson Caskey (“Caskey”), circulated guidance “strongly encouraging” Anderson School instructors “to follow the normal procedures” if “students ask for accommodations such as assignment delays or exam cancellations.” That is, according to the University’s investigation, Caskey “advised faculty not to make exam-related adjustments” or grant “accommodations on the basis of race, protests, or police brutality.”

23. That same day, a faculty colleague informed Plaintiff that, if instructors did not capitulate to these students’ demands, they would be labeled with the hurtful and derogatory term “yt,” or “whitey,” and their supervisors’ contact information would be highlighted in red on a spreadsheet circulated among participants of the online email campaign. The color red signaled to allies that they should email complaints to the non-capitulating professors’ supervisors. In response, to protect individual faculty members from harassment, several UCLA academic departments banded together to issue joint statements of refusal. Notably, the Anderson School did not.

24. Plaintiff’s faculty colleague further told him on that occasion that, rather than resist this pressure campaign, many professors were giving away unearned “A” grades like “free candy at Halloween.” ….

31. Although UCLA has argued that the Student posed “reasonable exam administration inquiries,” in reality, the Student’s request was exceedingly unreasonable and, indeed, unworkable. For instance, offering black students “no-harm” exams effectively would give them the option to not take the final exam in a class where final exam performance was the entire basis for their course grade, leaving an instructor without any data on which to base course grades. Moreover, adoption of the Student’s request would have imposed on Plaintiff the unseemly and cumbersome task of determining which students studying remotely were black….

The Complaint then alleges as series of actions by the administration to publicly shame Klein, including public announcements, official tweets, and disclosure of employment action taken against Prof. Klein:

43. Bernardo knew or should have known that widespread public disclosure of his decision to place Plaintiff on administrative leave and relieve Plaintiff of his teaching duties (the “Confidential Personnel Action”) would have devastating consequences for Plaintiff. Moreover, Bernardo knew or should have known that public disclosure of the Confidential Personnel Action would violate the University’s admonition he had received the previous day that “further inquiry is warranted before action can be taken” against Plaintiff. And Bernardo knew or should have known that public disclosure of the Confidential Personnel Action would violate University rules prohibiting such disclosure.

44. Additionally, the above email created the false impression that Plaintiff was not committed to an equitable learning environment, that Plaintiff had demonstrated a disregard for the “core principle” of equal treatment for all, and that Plaintiff had engaged in an “abuse of power.” None of this was even remotely true….

47. Indeed, the extraordinary nature of the Confidential Personnel Action itself, combined with Bernardo’s accusations about Plaintiff, created the public misperception that Plaintiff’s conduct must have inflicted severe harm on a student and been so egregious that it rose to being an abuse of power untethered from the core principles of the University. Therefore, Defendants’ public disclosure of the Confidential Personnel Action – in and of itself – has resulted in substantial harm to Plaintiff, as herein alleged. Moreover, in our modern world of instantaneous and far-reaching online communication, it was reasonably foreseeable by Defendants that their accusations against Plaintiff and their public disclosure of the Confidential Personnel Action would be widely circulated online, thereby dramatically multiplying Plaintiff’s reputational damage.

Although he eventually was reinstated, Prof. Klein alleges continuing damages:

66. As a proximate result of Defendants’ unlawful conduct herein alleged, Plaintiff began losing clients of the Expert Witness Practice immediately following media reports in June 2020 of these actions and events. Media reports intensified after Defendants publicized the Confidential Personnel Action and undertook public attacks against Plaintiff. For example, on or about June 3, 2020, Plaintiff was interviewed for an expert witness engagement by lawyers from one of the premier law firm clients of the Expert Witness Practice, following which the attorney and client immediately agreed to retain Plaintiff. That day, an intermediary who arranged for the interview emailed Plaintiff stating: “Gordon, good news! [The attorney and client] would like to retain you for the [] case.” A few days later, however, after Defendants’ unlawful public disclosure of the Confidential Personnel Action had been widely reported by the media, Plaintiff’s engagement on the case was terminated. Plaintiff has not received any further work from this premier client. In addition, the intermediary with whom Plaintiff had a longstanding business relationship modified its website to eliminate any mention of its association with Plaintiff, and its marketing head has ceased all communications with Plaintiff.

67. Similarly, also on or about June 3, 2020, another longstanding elite law firm client of the Expert Witness Practice suddenly terminated Plaintiff’s existing engagement on a major antitrust case. This client even refused to pay an invoice that Plaintiff previously had transmitted for past services rendered regarding this ongoing case.

68. Simply put, the Expert Witness Practice largely dried up as a proximate result of Defendants’ unlawful conduct herein alleged.

The damage from weaponized students, often aided and abetted by woke faculty and weak administrators, has had a profound chilling effect in academia. People like Prof. Gordon Klein deserve hero status, they stood tall and refused to bend the knee or apologize for insisting on treating all people equally.


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When you make demands for special treatment for certain people there should be some justification for it. What is the justification for special treatment for blacks other than the color of their skin? There is no more valid justification based on skin color than there would be for eye color or hair color. Any valid justification should be on a case by case basis.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to UserP. | September 29, 2021 at 6:44 am

    The special treatment is to keep blacks enrolled in sufficient quantity to keep various alphabet agencies in Washington, and at state level, contented.

    Dolce Far Niente in reply to UserP. | September 29, 2021 at 10:17 am

    The underlying justification for preferential treatment of black students by these woke whites is their secret yet core belief that blacks are inferior intellectually to whites and must be given preference and easier standards in order for blacks to appear to compete equally with white students (or God forbid, Asians).

    Blacks need to be protected and coddled, say the white progressives; on their own, they can’t even acquire picture ID!

      Nailed it. I remember when the Dems started the whole preferential treatment for students in college back in the late sixties. I worked in medicine and thought this was really stupid. Who would you pick as your brain surgeon if you had no idea which doc had been allowed to skate through medical school?

    Ohio Historian in reply to UserP. | October 2, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Just having this thought, that somehow “blck students” will perform in an inferior manner, is bigotry. As I keep saying, the bigots are on the left.

So it’s racist not to be racist, and the only way not to be racist is to be racist in exactly the right way. (Which of course doesn’t make you non-racist, but only *slightly* less than average racist, provided you continue to be racist in that exact fashion, varying according to the whims of certain unelected individuals who feel like it today.)

Ok, who got lose in the Matrix compiler and dumped a bunch of dirt in the circuits?

There are none so blind as those who will not see. The issue is not special grading. The issue is that these “students” lacked the merit to be enrolled in the first place.

Sadly, this is a cohort that feels entitled to such special treatment because they’ve been getting it for their entire lives.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to maxmillion. | September 29, 2021 at 7:06 am

    Max, it is never enough. EVER. Back in around 1972 I was residing in Fresno, and trying to finish up my degree attending classes part time.

    Registration week came upon us, and as I was walking across campus to submit my paperwork, I overheard the conversation of two whim-whine “of color”.

    Both had accents and grammar that was MAYBE fit for Compton or Watts; certainly not a college campus. One was complaining long and loud about how the paperwork they handed her wasn’ t filled out. The registrar’s office had the NERVE to expect her to fill it out herself.

    I guess the whites, Mexicans, Asians, et al were not aware this was something to be done by others, and that they did it themselves.

      Ohio Historian in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | October 2, 2021 at 10:14 am

      I just participated in an open house done for a library in a Columbus community. I watched the people handing out water and snack bags get chewed out because they weren’t giving out bigger bags so that this entitled minority person could take as much a bunch more.

    NYBruin in reply to maxmillion. | September 29, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    The underlying threat of violence also helps

amatuerwrangler | September 28, 2021 at 11:50 pm

A lifelong violent felon dies in a scenario set in motion by his own criminal activity, a half-continent away from UCLA and only because they shared a skin color with him, students wish to have academic standards waived because the death made them feel bad.. Or something. There is no reason for this need.

How did this particular death bother them more than those that happen virtually daily right there in the city that hosts the university. How are these people expecting to survive, let alone prosper, when they are so fragile?

This is another example of the tyranny of low expectations.

    It didn’t bother them more. The professional agitators are always looking for something to be bothered about. There’s a weekly “Justice for X.Y” march in Portland OR, X.Y is some person whose name I don’t remember, it’s always the same person, and the thing they’re complaining about (which was not obviously unjustified iirc) happened years ago. It’s just an event for them now.

    Same with George Floyd. Even his family was taken aback by it. The video did look very bad, we learned in the trial that the camera angle had a lot to do with it but the jury didn’t even care. Inside the jury room and out, reason was thrown to the winds and the irresistable “wake of George Floyd” sucked everything along with it.

    It was a national/worldwide psychosis. I think we’re recovering from it now, and this well-founded lawsuit is a part of that recovery.

      Antifundamentalist in reply to artichoke. | October 2, 2021 at 10:19 am

      This whole fiasco was started by the request of a WHITE student. Racism is alive and well in America, and it is all about keeping Blacks in their place (in places that they are only permitted to occupy rather than places they indisputably earned)….. the racists aren’t who they are purported to be.

    “This is another example of the tyranny of low expectations.”

    On the contrary they have high expectations for these people. They are all qualified to be democratic governors, congressmen, senators, supreme court justices and some even president. “If Obama made it, you can too!”

    Char Char Binks in reply to amatuerwrangler. | October 1, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    It bothered them greatly enough to keep them from studying for the test because they treated george fentanyl like a close family member. They wouldn’t have cared at all about george in life, but drew a line, and a connection, after his death. Never mind that they would have been unprepared for the test regardless.

    The Chauvin jurors did the same, as did blacks across the nation. They even said watching a black man die was like watching their cousin, uncle, or brother die, and they are building the same solidarity and sympathy now for daunte wright. No black should have been empaneled on the Chauvin jury, any more than an actual member of the fentanyl family.

They messed with the wrong hombre. He is going to be compensated big time. It’s the only way they will learn the lesson.

The best one though was the little white SJW at Oberlin who requested this in a lengthy email, and the prof answered back with “no.” She then posted to twatter with a trigger warning because “no” is viollent language. And that is why we continue to mock her relentlessly. And apparently she got a job at Oberlin after graduation, because I suspect her options anywhere else were nil-sky.

How insulted would one feel when their race was deemed to be inferior for all to see, by this obvious smear? That due to nothing more than skin colour you weren’t expected to have enough brain power to pass a test and that every other race on Planet Earth was deemed to be superior? That everyone within any variance of this same colour/race was officially declared to have so much less intelligence than the other races, that they required a pass for said stupidity?

Who are the obvious RACISTS in this technicolor fuck-up?

The Friendly Grizzly | September 29, 2021 at 6:55 am

Something that came to mind to me just now, over my breakfast coffee.

Why are there no black>/s> , uhh colored students uhh, students of color protesting the double standards?

If they really ARE “as good as” all the rest of the racial groups, they should stand up and say so.

I, if I were an employer, would not even consider hiring blacks unless I knew their grades were legitimate. Maybe hire ones over from Africa on student visas and scholarships; they seem genuine.

    AKA “the boomerang effect”.. Who in their right mind, but a brain dead Marxist, would hire any minority these days. I did in the past, but no way Jose today. You are asking to be sued, harassed, fired etc.

    Every state being dumped on should join. I’m totally disgusted with most of Idaho’s Congress Critters. They’re supposed to be so conservative, all I’ve seen so far is cowardice.

THey picked the wrong guy to screw with… This guy is a professor, kinda on the side, and a good one. His real business is as an expert witness.. You cannot make this up…OHhhhhhhhhhhh I hope he kicks butt.

HIs question about a white student from Minneapolis was brilliant…

Why did the professor even respond to such a ridiculous request?

He is plugged in to the legal community. Even if they shunned him, it sounds like he found a lawyer who realizes the deep pockets at UCLA.

    tbonesays in reply to Mike in Cinci. | September 30, 2021 at 5:15 am

    He’s probably thinking about a 6-digit settlement from UCLA. But really this could be stopped with a ,3-digit fine served on UCLA administrators. They can violate other people’s freedom all-day long knowing the endowment/tuition/taxpayers will foot the bill.

In this case-and this is a thing-white elites speak on behalf of blacks. It is a form of power consolidation and virtue signaling that whites see blacks as a community instead of individuals, and then claim to know what they want and then speak for them. Why was the white student asking for accommodations for blacks, instead of the blacks asking for it themselves? I hope Prof. Klein prevails. And I think he should sue take legal action against certain students too.

    caseoftheblues in reply to Clown 1396 XL. | September 29, 2021 at 12:20 pm

    True but it’s also as prevalent that blacks see whites as a group and not individuals and seemingly are allowed to tell all whites exactly what their life experience as a white person is….what it should be…oh and they also get to tell us what we are “actually” thinking…and what we should think

Our colleges need many more like this professor.

World…….You are officially upside down.

The rotten fruit of the cultural revolution: inmates running the asylum.

Add to that the consumer model of higher ed, et voila! The customer is always right and the ninny pretending to care about the fate of the black man to score virtue points rules the cuckoo’s nest.

My outrage gland is dried up. US higher ed is a lost cause. Those with an interest in the humanities should learn at the library or hire a tutor. Pursuing engineering or the hard sciences, you still need to avoid the commissars of the administration, keeping your head down and being a good student.

There is much to be said for this approach. It worked for me in graduate school because it was the only way to succeed: Your life is one continuous circuit from the seminar to the library to the room, where all is reading and writing with occasional breaks for food and a beer blowout on Saturday nights..

What a shit show.

We are generations deep into the exempt class. We wouldn’t be here if, in fact, the left wanted a level playing field as they claim.

What a continuing disaster for black students: marking them incompetent, denying them the opportunity to prove themselves on merit. Same with anyone, of any race, etc.

But then, the collapse of our society is the left’s goal. And the left runs UCLA.

Don’t forget another factor. Tucker just recently revealed that the “student” who filmed herself (xe-self???) confronting two “white” guys at Ariz State is not just a PhD candidate at that school. She is getting some social justice advanced degree as Ford Fellowship sponsored individual. There are many billion dollar philanthropies that are no longer liberal but far-far-left progressive and making this possible where it might not have been before.

All this grade tampering does is make it easier for employers to chose who to hire. Honest grades or tampered grades? Who would you hire? The interview process for the tampered grades would be far more intense and detailed, at best. I for one wouldn’t hire tanned anyone because the odds are they’re are not honestly qualified.

Need to tell the student who posed the question, “That’s a great idea! How much of your grade would you like to give them?”

If the students at Anderson who initiated this witch- hunt haven’t been included as defendants in Prof. Klein’s lawsuit, they should be added. They are as culpable as Anderson’s administrators. For too long, students have been allowed to escape the consequences of their outrageous behavior.

The same happened to me. After working 15+ years and receiving many awards I resigned because of being forced to pass students whose writing skills were, at best, at a six grade level. Over the last few years, I was forced to continually lower my standards in grading. It got to the point that I would give D students’ a C, and some F students’ a D. However, I refused to give any students with a less than 50 GPA a passing grade. They offered me an early retirement and I took it. My health immediately improved.

Very cowardly of Anderson School and its leadership. Very cowardly.

Prediction: LA Times requests the courts release the professor’s private Facebook posts.

Anyone want to bet?

Some, Select [Black] Minds Matter

Are Deans drinking or taking drugs at their jobs?? To wit, Oberlin College and Smith.

To loosely quote Jack Nicholson in the first Batman movie, “Higher Education in America needs an enema!”.

Char Char Binks | October 1, 2021 at 8:24 pm

Such weaponized snottiness. We need to shut down “higher” education. It’s just not worth it, all in all.

First thing we do is remove tenure from ALL to include these so-called administrators, if they have it. Second, avoid these schools like the plague.

Promptness: racist
Math: racist
Proper grammar: racist
Laws: racist