Thanks to the protests after the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Harvard Law students requested that their final examinations be postponed, claiming that students of color and their “allies” will perform poorly, being unable to “walk away from their pain.”
The absurdity of this should be clear, but let’s review it for sake of making sure. Students who attend Harvard are in a position of privilege, whether by accident of choosing one’s parents well or by the largesse of the school. People who are graduated from Harvard Law typically go on a variety of positions of power and prominence in this country, including these fellows. These are not jobs for the timid or the lazy.
Now schools do have a system for dealing with people who have personal emergencies. Students can be given incompletes on a case-by-case basis, with the expectation that they return to complete the work soon. The truth is that they often don’t do so, and this is not something that is good to allow willy-nilly. In principle, students should attend the final on the scheduled date to demonstrate their fitness for being called college graduates.
That being the case, I offer the following suggestion to students who feel themselves traumatized by events that they are no more connected to than anyone else.
Notice how those students are wearing warm weather clothing? Students who wish to postpone their fall semester finals may feel free to do so. They may retake the class in the spring and take that class’s final in May.