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UCLA Professor Apologizes to Students Offended by Ferguson Exam Question

A UCLA law professor apologized to students after some of them took offense to him including a question about Ferguson in his exam this week. Here’s the full question on the exam from Professor Robert Goldstein, as reported in school newspaper The Daily Bruin:

CNN News reported: On Nov. 24, St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch announced in a publicized press conference that Police Officer Darren Wilson (who has since resigned) would not be indicted in the August 9 shooting of Michael Brown. Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, was with hundreds of protesters assembled outside the police station, listening on loudspeakers and car radios when they learned Officer Wilson was not being charged. Standing on the hood of a car, Mr. Head embraced Michael Brown’s mother. Mr. Head asked someone for a bullhorn but it was not passed to him. He turned to the crowd, stomped on the hood and shouted, repeatedly, “Burn this bitch down!”

Police Chief Tom Jackson told Fox “News,” “We are pursuing those comments … We can’t let Ferguson and the community die [as a result of the riots and fires following McCulloch’s announcement]. Everyone who is responsible for taking away people’s property, their livelihoods, their jobs, their businesses — every single one of them needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

County Attorney Robert McCulloch asks lawyers in his office whether to seek an indictment against Head by relying on a statute forbidding breach of the peace and another prohibiting rioting (six or more persons assembling to violate laws with violence). A recent hire in the office, you are asked to write a memo discussing the relevant 1st Amendment issues in such a prosecution. Write the memo.

And as the Bruin writes, some students “found it difficult to write about the incident in terms of the first amendment while ignoring issues such as police brutality.”

One student said, “These kinds of questions create a hostile learning environment for students of color, especially black students who are already disadvantaged by the institution.”

Goldstein ended up apologizing to students, writing that questions like these “create a hostile learning environment for students of color” and that invoking current events in this way makes things “too raw to be an opportunity for many of you to demonstrate what you have learned in this class this year.”

[h/t Fox News]
[image via screengrab]

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Josh Feldman is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @feldmaniac