Columbia Law School is allowing students to ask for their final exams to be postponed if the student says they felt traumatized or disturbed by the decisions not to indict police officers in Missouri and New York for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Robert E. Scott, the interim dean for Columbia Law School, sent an email on Saturday saying, according to Buzzfeed, “Students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effect of these recent events may petition Dean Alice Rigas to have an examinations reschedule.”
The email also says, “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.”
Yahoo News is also reporting a trauma specialist and several faculty members are holding special office hours for any student who wants to discuss the decisions or needs support.
The decision to allow students to postpone their exams comes after a student organization called for the exams to be put on hold. According to FOX News, an email sent to the school board says many of the same legal principles the students had learned about were being used to “deny justice to so many black and brown bodies.”
The letter the group wrote was posted online and part of it reads, “We sit to study with the knowledge that our brothers and sisters are regularly killed with impunity on borders and streets; we sit to study with the understanding that our brothers and sisters are marching to have our humanity recognized and valued by a system that has continually failed us.”
While many students disagree with the postponement of their fellow student’s exams for these reasons, a spokeswoman told the NY Post, students have been allowed to postpone their exams over “extenuating conditions, including illness, religious observance, bereavement and other exceptional and documented circumstances.”