By Nélida Tello
Last week, students in an Introduction to African American Studies course at the University of California San Diego took control away from their instructor, Dr. Darwin Fishman, and demanded that they be given a no-fault final exam, as to not be penalized in their final grade, as many students were taking part in the nationwide rebellions and grieving the police murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
For 80 minutes straight, students criticized Fishman for his support of the police, for failing to teach them anything valuable throughout the quarter, and for not owning up to his errors. One student stated that she would no longer ask permission to speak in class to voice her criticism. Students also defended their teaching assistant and interrupted the professor as he threatened to reprimand her for speaking out in favor of the students. Students also criticized their professor for his so-called ‘activism,’ as many were actually in the streets protesting while he has a track record of pushing the families of victims of police violence to collaborate with the police department.
The students’ unity and tenacious confrontation left Fishman with no choice but to grant the class’ demand for the no-fault exam. Echoing Mao’s words, students stated that the lesson they took from this class was that it is right to rebel and there is little doubt that this was taken from their experience in the streets.