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UMd. mock trial coaches quit after remarks about Latino students

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Latino students were described as “mediocre” and “pretty bad” in an email that was accidentally sent by a professor to student.

The visiting professor, Mark Graber sent the email Thursday morning to students who were registering for a mock trial class at the University of Maryland. The email also included an exchange he had with his daughter, Abigail Graber, who is a lawyer who volunteered as an assistant coach for the team.

In the email, Abigail Graber wrote in the email that some Latino students were not qualified for the class.

“If I were to rank purely on performance, I would probably only take 1 of them. Should I take 2? All three? None have mock trial experience,” Abigail Graber wrote. “The mediocre one is extremely involved in community activism/organizing (she’s the one I would probably take no matter what, what she lacks in skill she makes up in confidence, although she may be too busy for this commitment).”

When the university learned of the incident they asked the two to resign, which they did, according to a university email sent to the affected students.Jocelyn Nolasco, a Latina student at the university, posted a screenshot of the email on Twitter. She later told Circa that she was shocked when she received the email.

Nolasco says that she felt personally attacked because his daughter was referring to her in the email.

"I felt terrible because it was like I automatically got written off when the class required no prior experience," Nolasco said.

Several minutes after the professor sent the email, he sent another email to apologize.

“Huge apologies to Abigail and all of you. I thought I had edited the email so that all that was on the forwarded email was names and emails,” he wrote to the class. “Please ignore the rest and accept my apologies. Jet lag.”

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However, Nolasco believes that the visiting professor's apology is insincere.

"The professor was only sorry that I and the other Latino students saw it," she said. "I can't understand how him and his daughter were writing off the Latino students and singling them out by not having experience."

The university has reached out to students and said that they will announce a new head mock trial coach soon.

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