Shame on Columbia Law School

I know that there are people who are upset about the Michael Brown/Eric Garner cases. I know that the cases have ripped open old wounds that have to do with America’s legacy on race and race relations. I know that it is high time to focus on the overextension and abuse of police power.

But life doesn’t come to a screeching halt even in the aftermath of the decision not to indict Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo. Work still has to be done, and duties still have to be attended to. So, it is more than a little appalling that Columbia Law School is allowing the rescheduling of exams for students “who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effects of these recent events.”

How exactly can it be determined if one is a student who feels “their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired”? Is there a test that can be administered to determine this, or do we just take students’ words for it? What about students whose performance is not impaired; do they have to go through with their exams knowing that possibly, they will be bested by other students who have more time to prepare for those exams (and who may not be nearly as traumatized as they claim to be)? And while we are asking questions, will these students–who aspire to be lawyers, after all–be apt to shirk duties and responsibilities in the future if and when something upsetting is shown on the news? There are any number of politicians and lawyers who were involved somehow and in some way in the Michael Brown/Eric Garner cases. They are probably also upset by the news that there will be no state indictments in those cases. But they suited up and went back to work the next day. Why can’t the students at Columbia Law School do the same?

Being a lawyer means that one has to take losses along with wins, and undesirable compromises along with acceptable ones. A whole host of students at Columbia are about to show that they lack the ability to bounce back from a setback or an outrage. Just out of curiosity, how desirable should this make them in the eyes of any future potential employers?

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