Perfect illustration of the “Less is More” principle

“UCLA lecturer’s job in jeopardy after refusing ‘accommodations’ for black students”:

University of California-Los Angeles Lecturer Gordon Klein faces an online petition that asks UCLA to terminate his employment, following an email he allegedly sent to a student regarding “special treatment” for black students in light of the George Floyd protests.

The viral petition, signed by nearly 20,000 people, claims Klein’s “blatant lack of empathy and unwillingness to accommodate his students during a time of protests speaks to his apathetic stance on the matter.”

UCLA Anderson School of Management spokeswoman Rebecca Trounson confirmed to Campus Reform that Klein is “on leave from campus and his classes have been reassigned to other faculty.”

What the accounting expert do?

“Thanks for your suggestion in your email below that I give black students special treatment, given the tragedy in Minnesota,” Klein’s email read, according to the petition. “Do you know the names of the classmates that are black? How can I identify them since we’ve been having online classes only? Are there any students that may be of mixed parentage [sic], such as half black-half Asian? What do you suggest I do with respect to them? A full concession or just half? Also, do you have any idea if any students are from Minneapolis? I assume that they probably are especially devastated as well.”

Klein’s email continued, “I am thinking that a white student from there might be possibly even more devastated by this, especially because some might think that they’re racist even if they are not. My TA is from Minneapolis, so if you don’t know, I can probably ask her. Can you guide me on how you think I should achieve a ‘no-harm ‘outcome since our sole course grade is from a final exam only? One last thing strikes me: Remember that MLK famously said that people should not be evaluated based on the “color of their skin.” Do you think that your request would run afoul of MLK’s admonition?”

He/she/ze/they would still have a job if he/she/ze/they had followed the “less is more” principle by responding with the following:

Thanks for your suggestion.

(first four words of the above actual response)


8 thoughts on “Perfect illustration of the “Less is More” principle

  1. > He/she/ze/they would still have a job if…

    …he’d proceeded on the basis that the US is a theocracy, as are western countries generally. Woe betide him who blasphemes against the Church of Woke, for he shall know unemployment or worse.

    It’s more difficult than in former times to stay on the right side of the piety/heresy divide, too. If you were brought up in, say, 17th century France, the rites of Catholicism would have been drummed into you from infancy and you would know what could be said and what could not. Today the line isn’t in the same place it was a month ago (example) and likely will move again soon. Don’t find yourself on the wrong side!

    It’s interesting to compare with an earlier time when wrongful opinion could potentially get you in big trouble. How about in the aftermath of a civil war, fought partly over religious issues and resulting in the execution of the former head of state in 1649? Wrongful opinions must have been even more harshly condemned then than they are today, surely?

    “The King’s fate was the principal topic of discussion among his subjects. Few of them, in spite of the constant threat of the Army, seem to have practised even an elementary caution about expressing their views in public. Political and religious opinion were bandied about with a bold indifference to consequences: not that the consequences were likely to be very serious.” – from The Trial of Charles I by C.V. Wedgwood.

  2. I don’t think a mere: ‘Thanks for your suggestion.’ would have saved him. Ignoring the email might have. These people want submission, then they still want you finished off. Never apologize, never capitulate. Oh and the playing along to get eaten last bit has run out.

  3. @GB, @Philg: Ignoring the email or just saying “Thanks for your suggestion” would not have saved him. I’ve worked in the higher administration of an activist law school and I know perfectly well that ignoring emails of this kind is not a viable stratagem. This is mandatory compliance with moral clarity. There are no choices here except: “Thank you, and I intend to fully comply, and to go beyond what you’ve suggested. Please send me any other resources that I can use to do everything you want and more.” Even the slightest delay or protest of confusion or bewilderment signals resistance from someplace in one’s deeply racist subconscious mind.

    I’ve seen this Inquisition before. I’ve participated in it.

  4. Right now, 21,104 people have signed the “Fire Him!” petition and 66,658 have signed the “Reinstate Him!” petition.

    But this is not a democracy, as Lord Palmerston observes. This is the People’s Republic of UCLA.

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