12/12/2014

More political correctness at universities: "UCLA law professor learns Ferguson-related exam question taboo"

My son Maxim has a new piece up at Fox News:
Professor Robert Goldstein said the exam question was designed to test students’ ability to analyze the line between free speech and inciting violence. It cited a report about how Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, shouted, “Burn this bitch down!” after a grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.
The question then asked students to imagine that they are lawyers in the St. Louis County Attorney’s office and had been asked to advise the prosecutor “whether to seek an indictment against Head” for inciting violence. The exam reads:
“[As] a recent hire in the office, you are asked to write a memo discussing the relevant First Amendment issues in such a prosecution. Write the memo.”
But students complained, and writer Elie Mystal at the popular legal blog “Above the Law” opined that the test question was “racially insensitive and divisive.” Mystal also incorrectly alleged that the question asked students to “advocate in favor of extremist racists in Ferguson.” . . .
Other law professors say there should be no need to apologize for such a straightforward exam question.
“If there are some law students who are such delicate flowers that merely being asked to assess whether certain controversial speech that's been in the news is constitutionally protected, in a class covering the First Amendment of all things, then maybe they should find another profession,” David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University School of Law, told FoxNews.com. . . . .
The rest of the article is available here.  There are other good quotes in the piece.

So what would have been wrong if the test had in fact asked students to make a case in favor of bringing legal action against Louis Head?  Wouldn't students know how best to argue against that position if they first had to figure out what the strongest arguments in favor of it are?

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