Columbia University Law School Students May Reschedule Final Exams In The Wake of Non-Indictments


Students attending Columbia University Law School have been granted the opportunity to reschedule their final exams as a result of any trauma felt in the wake of the grand jury decisions in the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.

An email was sent out to students on Saturday by interim dean, Robert E. Scott, notifying students of the ability to reschedule per the university’s guidelines. The email said, “The grand juries’ determinations to return non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have shaken the faith of some in the integrity of the grand jury system and in the law more generally. For some law students, particularly, though not only, students of color, this chain of events is all the more profound as it threatens to undermine a sense that the law is a fundamental pillar of society designed to protect fairness, due process and equality.”

Scott goes on to say, “Students who feel that their performance on examinations will be sufficiently impaired due to the effects of these recent events may petition [head of registration services] Dean Alice Rigas to have an examination rescheduled”

The country has erupted in protests and “die-ins” being staged across the cities near and far, including those close to the university. Many students have joined in to show their solidarity to those who feel the grand juries decisions were unjust as well as to work towards changing the system for all American citizens.

Scott also included in his email the addition of what he calls “trauma specialists”, who students can begin meeting with students in need of a sounding board. In additional to trauma counseling, several members of the teaching faculty are extending their office hours to accommodate students “to talk about the implications of the Brown and Garner non-indictments,” according to Scott.

Curriculum dean, Avery Katz, also sent out an email to students on Monday, saying “Unless time pressure is severe, meeting with an academic counselor is the preferred alternative, in case our students services staff can offer support or other resources that may be helpful.

Katz urged students to try different avenues of dealing with the overwhelming or upsetting feelings that may have been spurred by the non-indictments. He also reminded students that each request for an extension must include an “individual explanation” as to why the students feels one is needed.

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