Law prof curses student on hot mic after she asks him to slow down his lectures
An adjunct professor at Columbia Law School has apologized after he was heard muttering “F- - - you” on a live microphone last week, after a student asked him to slow down his lectures.
Law professor Daniel Capra told Law.com that he is ashamed of his conduct, and he has apologized to the student and to his class.
“I have devoted my career to serving and helping students, and I am mortified that I acted here the way I did,” he said.
Above the Law broke the news. The student had asked Capra to slow down his lectures because international students were having trouble keeping up with a foreign language. Capra refused and chalked up the students’ difficulties as “assumption of risk.”
Capra muttered the F-word after the student walked away.
Above the Law acknowledged that professors have to deliver a certain amount of material in a finite number of classes, and “it’s not like you can skip a hearsay exception or two just to make sure everyone catches up.” The blog also noted that the class is obviously being recorded, so students can play back sections that they didn’t understand.
But the blog said Capra could have offered an accommodation. He could have offered students a chance to email him with questions or stop by his office. He could have offered to put together a supplemental handout for students struggling with specific concepts.
Instead, he responded in a way that is “marginalizing and deeply unprofessional,” the blog said.
Gillian Lester, the dean of Columbia Law, told Law.com that she has communicated with Capra to let him know that his “language, and the disrespectful attitude it conveyed, were unacceptable.” She has also met with students to “express my own sorrow about this incident.”
Columbia Law has an “unequivocal commitment to fostering a welcoming learning environment for all students,” Lester said.
Capra is also a professor at the Fordham University School of Law. Matthew Diller, the dean of the Fordham law school, told Law.com that he was saddened by Capra’s comments.
“His conduct was not consistent with his reputation as a teacher and scholar over many years or the spirit of inclusiveness and care for others that is at the heart of a Fordham education,” Diller said.
Aditi Thakur, president of Columbia Law’s student senate, also released a statement to Law.com and Above the Law. Thakur said the student senate is “deeply alarmed” by reports of Capra’s conduct.
“As a student body, we firmly believe that a safe and inclusive environment is essential for the academic success and well-being of all students, and we are committed to ensuring this environment exists for students of all backgrounds. We accordingly expect the faculty and administrators to take all necessary steps to uphold this core principle,” the statement read.