May 19, 2018

MARK PULLIAM ON TEXAS: The Snowflakes Take Charge at UT Law School: Political Correctness Trumps Pedagogy in Constitutional Law I.

Case in point: At UT law school, Professor Richard Alpert gave his 1L Constitutional Law I students a final exam consisting of half multiple-choice questions and half an essay responding to a prompt. The prompt asked students to assume they were advising the Governor of Kansas regarding the legality of segregated schools, prior to Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Students were asked to write a memo, no more than 1,000 words, raising the best legal arguments. Given the sensitivity of matters relating to race, it is unlikely that a white professor would have used such a prompt for an essay exam. Professor Alpert, however, is African-American.

After the exam was over, leftist students began to whine. One student, a white SJW, wrote an email to the class objecting that the question left him “shocked and disgusted.” The student encouraged his classmates to complain to the law school’s administration, asserting that “No one should have been forced to write an essay defending segregation.” Another white student defended Professor Alpert’s essay question as a legitimate pedagogical exercise.

A student of color admonished her classmates, asking that they “remember the amount of privilege that each of us sit in as we work towards solutions to mitigate or, possibly, remedy these concerns.” Continuing, this student scolded the initial objector with these words: “If you are not a person of color and you felt triggered by the exam question, I would encourage you to actually talk to a person of color in the class because, to be frank, the question did not address your experience. And because it is not your experience, it is not you [sic] place to take charge of the dialogue without consulting the individuals who are actually impacted.” Nevertheless, the student of color indicated that the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society, a student organization at UT affiliated with the National Black Law Students Association, “has been made aware of this exam question.”

The UT administration quickly assumed the fetal position. Within days, Professor Alpert sent an apology to the class, reproduced in full below.

This isn’t going to make Texas grads more appealing on the job market.