We’ve treaded lightly on the huge news stories regarding the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner for two reasons — first, we feel we’ve got little to add to the conversation that hasn’t already been said and secondly because the issues involve race, class, police procedures, the law and several other serious topics much to heavy for a website dedicated to boob jiggling Christmas songs and Johnny Football.
However, this news piece and the video above explaining how students at Georgetown University and Harvard Law requested the postponement of finals because students feel “traumatized” by the Brown and Garner cases needs to be addressed. Specifically because it’s an awful idea.
I’m in no position to tell any individual how to feel about the Michael Brown and Eric Garner tragedies.I don’t doubt that millions of people, regardless of race, were traumatized in some way by both cases. I’d never tell a person how to feel about any issue, either personal or national, because each individual has a right to feel the way they do. For every action, there is a reaction.
What I am in a position to do, based on my age and life experience, is tell these students this is a slippery slope and an issue no university needs to address at this point. How would a professor judge who’s actually affected by the Brown and Garner cases and who’s just looking for more time to prepare for finals? He or she can’t possibly, nor should they have to, because that opens a completely different Pandora’s Box of issues regarding race, class and human nature.
Are black students automatically affected and automatically exempt from finals based on color alone? Are white students incapable of feeling deep emotions about two men killed by officers of the law and those men facing zero repercussions because of their actions just because they can’t “relate” to the situations? Professors and university staff have other issues to deal with. Creating disharmony on campus isn’t a way to deal with the disharmony of the outside world.
It’s a professor and an academic institution’s job to prepare students for life outside of college. Life outside of college will involve several traumatic experiences, both personal and private, and student won’t be able to ask for extensions in the real world. If these law students can’t deal with the Brown and Garner cases on a personal level, how will they deal with cases they actually have to work on?
It’s my advice to these students, and all students really, to prepare the best they can, do the best they can, and hope for the best and I’m not just talking about with finals.