Lawyers behaving badly has been a long running staple here at Above the Law. But 2022 is a year of innovation — law school administrations are doing their damnest to end up on a shit list, and who are we not to oblige them? Move over U. Chicago! As bad as they are, their administration’s response to accommodation requests was a polite reccomendation to “take a leave of absence.” Still horrible, but at least they used nice, politically correct™️ language. This week’s fallen star is Texas A&M University’s law school — their COVID-19 accommodation policy was just straight up bringing segregation back. Say what you like about the south, but at least they’re upfront.
On top of that, it’s also somehow worse than she let on? From a tipster who also attends Texas A&M:
This semester, TAMU forbids virtual learning with no exception for any student (as demonstrated by this student’s experience). TAMU also does not require masks, vaccinations, or COVID-19 testing. Professors are not allowed to hold virtual class; many (especially those who are immunocompromised themselves) have asked the administration for the option, but the administration remains firm in not allowing virtual classrooms. Professors do have discretion to record classes and distribute recordings to students who miss due to COVID, but that is discretionary.
There are no exceptions to the attendance policy for students who have to quarantine due to a positive test or exposure, and students who miss class due to COVID risk administrative withdrawal from the course. This effectively incentivizes sick and/or exposed students to attend class because they will be penalized for staying home.
Last semester, TAMU required twice-weekly testing for unvaccinated students;this semester, TAMU has eliminated that requirement. TAMU’s Dean has justified this by the knowledge that Omicron transmission rates are equal in vaccinated and unvaccinated populations. So, instead of requiring testing for everyone, TAMU has thrown the baby out with the bathwater and eliminated mandatory testing altogether. There were administrative concerns that if everyone was required to be tested, too many people would be forced to quarantine.
I’d like to remind everyone that, much like the 6 million dollar man, Texas A&E has the technology. The air has been spicy with the VID for the last two years. None of this is new and even if the school doesn’t want to renew its Zoom subscription, recording lectures has been a thing for decades. Frankly, in my opinion, the school’s treatment seems calculated, ableist, and cruel. Some rando not wearing a mask in public because of “muh liberty” or to own the libs is one thing, but a school going out of its way like this is a different caliber of douchebaggery. My first thought was there’s no way A&M’s response to Mrs. Reed is even legal — facially, this has to be an ADA violation or something.
My hope is that there will be some larger pushback from the students and staff. The U. Chicago professor’s open letter was a much appreciated act of solidarity, and I hope that something similar comes of this at A&M. And I hope it has teeth. Be it a boycott of the school or people sharing stories of the school discriminating against them that cost the school more than donors are proving. Maybe donor dollars go elsewhere or the government reduces their funding. Who knows. She should really look into an ADA suit though.
Chris Williams became a social media manager and assistant editor for Above the Law in June 2021. Prior to joining the staff, he moonlighted as a minor Memelord™ in the Facebook group Law School Memes for Edgy T14s. He endured Missouri long enough to graduate from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. He is a former boatbuilder who cannot swim, a published author on critical race theory, philosophy, and humor, and has a love for cycling that occasionally annoys his peers. You can reach him by email at email@example.com and by tweet at @WritesForRent.