Call to Action: Insensitive and Racist Content on UIC John Marshall Law School Exam!

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“N_____” and “B_____”: The Inexcusable Usage of ______ on a UIC John Marshall Law School Civil Procedure II Exam.

On December 2, 2020, UIC John Marshall Law students sat for a Civil Procedure II( JD-421-0) final examination instructed and administered by Professor Jason Kilborn. The question at-issue contained a racial pejorative summarized as follows: “‘n____’and ‘b____’ (profane expressions for African Americans and women).” The fact pattern involved an employment discrimination case where the call of the question was whether or not the information found was work product.

The slur shocked students created a momentous distraction and caused unnecessary distress and anxiety for those taking the exam. Considering the subject matter, and the call of the question, the use of the “n____” and “b____” was certainly unwarranted as it did not serve any educational purpose. The question was culturally insensitive and tone-deaf. It lacked basic civility and respect for the student body, especially considering our social justice efforts this year.

The integration of this dark and vile verbiage on a Civil Procedure II exam was inexcusable and appropriate measures of accountability must be executed by the UIC administration.

We cannot ignore the history and violence the N-word represents and the psychological impact, and mental trauma students were subjected to. The implication of such vile and gratuitous verbiage on a Civil Procedure II exam demonstrated a lack of respect, decency, and civility.

What must be done:

We demand action and actual change.

● Professor Kilborn should immediately step down as the chair of the academic affairs committee and from all other committee appointments he holds. Someone who exhibits such poor judgment should not be able to hold an additional position of power. Specifically, one with influence over academic affairs.

● The school must ensure that all mandatory courses are taught by multiple professors - empowering students with the opportunity to take classes from professors without a history of bias.

● As requested in BLSA’s demand letter on June 5, 2020 and stated herein, we continue to advocate strongly for mandatory cultural sensitivity training for faculty and staff.

● The school must implement an unambiguous policy with guidelines prohibiting offensive and culturally insensitive language in the classroom by professors. We expect to see this policy implemented by the Spring 2021 Semester, starting January 11, 2021.

● The Administration must plan an open dialogue event with Professor Kilborn during the Spring 2021 Semester. Preferably moderated by a professor at UIC John Marshall Law School.

There is a problem at UIC John Marshall Law School. It is evident in all the letters and statements we have written before. We do not have time for band-aid solutions. We need surgery and this operation is not up for debate. Act now.

 



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