Columbia University Law Students Can Postpone Finals Due To Protests

The Columbia University Law School has decided to allow students who feel too traumatized by the Eric Garner case, grand jury decision, and resulting protests to request postponements of their final exams for this term. Many lesser-known media outlets, including law-news blogs and student blogs, have reported and editorialized about this. Some of the stories are neutral reportage, while others offer strong opinions (especially negative), such as the New York Post’s quip that “they’re a long way from being hard-nosed litigators.” The Post headline is misleading, for the school is not postponing all finals, and only a small percentage of students have requested this special delay.

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Apparently, this decision by the school administration falls in line with their general policy of special postponement allowances, but it has been publicized because of the troubling events in New York City, in particular.
Students at the top-tier law school have differing opinions on this dispensation, and only a few are doing this. However, students have also begun requesting final exam postponements at the undergraduate schools at Columbia University, and at a few other schools around the country such as Harvard Law and Georgetown Law, according to the Daily Caller.
Fox News is particularly scathing on this topic, with Gregg Jarrett writing:

“If professors in ivory towers choose to coddle their students, the result will be fainthearted lawyers…”

As far as a comparison, after the natural damages wrought by Hurricane Sandy at the end of October 2012, the Rutgers School of Law-Newark did not postpone finals after a week of cancelled classes, but instead extended the term and finals by a week.
Should Columbia Law School have made this offer to its students? Should students take up this offer? Should students in other divisions of Columbia University, and other schools in general, also offer postponed finals in light of the Garner and even the Brown decisions? This appears to be a lightning rod for the right-wing, but many on the left are not partaking of this offer anyway.

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Ellen is the author of The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn (2009), The Lost Synagogues of the Bronx and Queens (2011) and The Lost Synagogues of Manhattan (2013).?(And hopefully a book about NJ one day, if her publisher gives the green light.)?




Ellen Levitt is the author of The Lost Synagogues of Brooklyn (2009), The Lost Synagogues of the Bronx and Queens (2011) and The Lost Synagogues of Manhattan (2013), all published by Avotaynu. She is a lifelong New Yorker, a veteran public school teacher, writer and photographer. Bird lover as well.