After successfully teaching 15 different finance, accounting, and law classes at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management to tens of thousands of students for 40 years without any incidents or complaints, lecturer Gordon Klein got suspended, canceled, pilloried, and banned from campus in the summer of 2020. What was Gordon’s transgression that caused a campus uproar and motivated 20,000 students and their allies to sign a petition demanding that he be fired? Sexual assault or sexual harassment? Incompetence or bad teaching? Plagiarism or falsifying his credentials? Financial mismanagement of university funds? Nope, none of those. Gordon’s supposed misdeed was that he refused to change his standard race-neutral, non-discriminatory, color-blind grading policy at the request of one of his white students in June 2020 who requested racially preferential grading for black students in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis while in police custody (see Gordon’s email response here).
At this point, it’s important to realize a few legalities. First, the state constitution in California prohibits race-based preferences in public education. Second, the University of California explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, skin color, and national origin. And as a recipient of federal funds, UCLA is legally required to enforce Title VI’s prohibition of racial discrimination on its campus that further prohibits UCLA from “treating an individual differently from others” on the basis of race or skin color in its educational programs. So by refusing to accommodate a student’s request to engage in blatant racial discrimination, Gordon had the law and university policy solidly on his side. Not to mention logic, common sense, and ethics.
But none of that mattered to Gordon’s dean at Anderson, Antonio Bernardo, who led the charge of the woke mob against Gordon’s job, his academic and professional reputation, and his livelihood external to UCLA. Taking matters into their own hands and without any formal review or due process, Dean Bernardo and other Anderson officials suspended Gordon, banned him from campus, started monitoring his outgoing emails, and started attacking his character on social media.
As Gordon explained recently in his Common Sense with Bari Weiss Substack article “Why I Am Suing UCLA” common sense quickly prevailed because “Less than three weeks after this whole thing blew up, I was reinstated.” But as Gordon then explains “this story is not over.” And the reason it’s not over is because he is standing up and fighting back against UCLA’s (and higher education’s) “diversity-inclusion-equity (DIE) industrial complex” and campus wokerati with a lawsuit that was filed on Monday with the Superior Court of California against dean Antonio Bernardo, the University of California Board of Regents and a host of unnamed “co-conspirators.” In his lawsuit, Klein is seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees.
Some further background is provided by a recent Washington Times article about Gordon:
Mr. Bernardo allegedly sought permission to fire Mr. Klein, and, after higher-ups at UCLA quickly said no, the dean went ahead and suspended Mr. Klein while falsely characterizing his exchange with the student as hurtful, according to the lawsuit.
Mr. Klein said he became a sacrificial lamb in UCLA Anderson School’s effort to paint itself as a model warrior against perceived racism.
And the school has good reason to depict itself that way because the reality of its treatment of Black scholars belies that stance, according to the suit.
“The UCLA Anderson School had substantial reasons to be concerned about its reputation,” a footnote in the lawsuit said. “Upon information and belief, out of approximately 200 faculty members, only one black professor has tenure and the School has not granted tenure to a black professor in over four decades.”
And as Gordon concludes his Substack article:
This is not just about principle. It’s also about the United States’ ability to compete. Anderson, like elite business schools across the country, is supposed to be training the next generation of innovators. The people who will muster the imagination and fortitude to create life-changing technologies and lead groundbreaking multinationals. If we don’t maintain our standards — if we’re not allowed to push all of our students to do their very best — we will be disarming unilaterally. I refuse to do that, and I’m convinced, this recent episode notwithstanding, that most of my students and colleagues feel the same way.
Kudos to Gordon Klein for standing up to the woke campus mob of cry-bully activism and higher education’s DIE-complex Uniformity-Exclusion-Inequity complex and fighting back with a lawsuit that names an individual dean as a defendant, along with all of the UC regents. To paraphrase Chairman Mao, “let a thousand such lawsuits bloom.” To paraphrase Walter E. Williams “Nothing opens the closed minds of college administrators better than lawsuits being filed and the sounds of pocketbooks snapping shut.”
Here are some links to media reports of Gordon Klein’s lawsuit, which do not yet include higher education’s mainstream media outlets the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed (which published two stories on Gordon’s original troubles in June 2020 and his reinstatement in September 2020):
Daily Mail: Professor sues UCLA for suspending him after he refused request to mark black students’ work more leniently than white students in wake of George Floyd’s murder triggering anti-Semitic death threats