Damage control at Columbia?

The Volokh Conspiracy, via Eugene Volokh, has posted an email from one of Columbia Law School’s vice deans regarding requests for postponements of exams by students allegedly traumatized by grand jury outcomes. The email states that “students who wish to request a rescheduled exam, or other similar accommodation, should either write to the office of Registration Services with an individual explanation of the basis of the request, or speak in person with an academic counselor in the Office of Student Services.” It adds that a personal meeting is preferred.

As to whether students seeking a postponement can use boilerplate language, the emails states:

So far this term, the Office of Registration Services has granted accommodation to a small number of students, all of whom have detailed the reason for their request. We have also received a number of boilerplate requests from individual students wishing to reschedule exams. The Dean of Registration Services has written to those students asking them to provide additional information or to consult with Student Services.

This message differs from the one contained in the email I wrote about earlier today. According to that email, the explanation for why a postponement is sought “need not be extensive and each person’s language may be the same.” (Emphasis added).

I’m not sure why Columbia has sent out conflicting messages, Black students, understandably, seem puzzled too.

The email stating that boilerplate petitions are being sent back with requests for additional information was issued after the email that provided the actual boilerplate. Thus, I’m told that it is considered by many at Columbia to be a clumsy attempt at damage control.


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