UF Law students defend online critical race theory class after the college cancelled it for the Fall semester

Students found out the class was cancelled in an email stating it won't be offered online
Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 11:45 PM EDT
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They say if you know better, you do better. At least that's a goal faculty and staff is working towards at the University of Florida Levin College of Law by offering race relations courses and discussions.

One student said, "this Critical Race Theory seminar is one of the most important anti-racist curriculum that UF offers."

The class won't be offered at the University of Florida Levin College of Law in the Fall. President of the Black Law Students Association, Shydarrius Jackson says it's because the school won't let Professor Michelle Jacobs teach it online.

"They discussed a number of factors that went into allowing professors to actually choose their class remotely," said Jackson. "But we don't know the particulars of that information. We were told that classes, we were told that professors were not allowed to teach remotely just because of personal preference."

An email sent to students from faculty Tuesday evening mentions an opportunity to take classes canceled in the Fall during the Spring semester instead, in addition to offering more race-relation courses.

But one student says they want that course now and they want it online. "There are 21 classes being offered by the University of Florida Levin College of Law that are completely online. 21, so what's 23, you know?"

Third-year law student Ebony Love took Critical Race Theory last year and says the course is one of few opportunities to discuss race in the legal system.

"Not having a class like Critical Race Theory in the current political climate that we're in, especially after George Floyd," said Love. "And especially after the University of Florida Levin College of Law released a racial roadmap. It's not only doing a disservice to the students of this university they're also doing a disservice to every single client that we will potentially represent after we become lawyers."

The college’s roadmap for racial justice was released on June 17 and goes over steps to take to support anti-racist initiatives in the community. Read it here.

In a statement to TV 20, Dean Laura Rosenbury says she is not able to comment on specific courses or instructors, but all decisions about in-person classes are made with CDC and UF health guidelines in mind.

Rosenbury’s full statement:

“Led by guidance of the CDC and UF Health, the Levin College of Law has balanced providing interactive, in-person instruction for its students with numerous safeguards and protocols that place the health and safety of our students and faculty at the forefront.  For faculty with COVID related health conditions, we have also offered additional safeguards and alternatives, such as adjusted work assignments focusing on research and mentoring, with no effect on pay, benefits, tenure, or accrual toward sabbatical for those faculty.  Beyond these general efforts to protect its students and faculty, the College is not able to comment on any specific course offerings or instructional decision.”

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