Yes, this topic has very well been beaten to death recently, but NPR raised an interesting point this past week—how do employers view students’ decisions to petition for postponing exams for “trauma” based on the grand jury decisions not to indict two police officers for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. It’s already so hard to get a job; students probably don’t want to handicap themselves any further by showing inabilities to function after receiving difficult legal news.
Aurra Fellows, a member of the Columbia Law Student Coalition, says she has no choice than to be out there protesting. Columbia led the delayed exam movement and Harvard, Yale and Georgetown all followed suit (although only on an individual basis). While Fellows did not delay her exams, she admits that some students did. Despite these postponements, all Columbia Law students took the exams during the school’s exam timeframe.
First-year student, Isaac Lara was singing a different tune. He claims that some students were postponing just to gain some extra cramming time. And at a competitive school like Columbia, where students are graded on a curve, fellow classmates were probably resentful of those students who postponed exams because they could.
Elie Mystal of Above the Law says Harvard, Yale and Georgetown made the right decision—to consider requests to postpone on an individual basis. Mystal says a message is being sent by participating students of not being able to function if something bad happens. Lara, who is Latino, agrees. In the NPR article, he says that the message to employers is “students of color can’t deal with really disappointing news.”
Of course, students who are postponing say it is more than delaying exams—it is about a movement. To that Mystal replies that students who want to join a movement should be motivated by it. Instead of postponing exams, take the exams, do well, and be motivated to join social justice movements such as the NAACP or ACLU.
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