Iowa State University administrators took action this week after an English teacher forbade her students to disagree with abortion, gay marriage, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Students who signed up for ISU assistant professor Chloe Clark’s English 250 class for the fall semester learned in their syllabus that they would be “dismissed” from class if they argued against “gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter.”
The syllabus stated:
GIANT WARNING: any instances of othering that you participate in intentionally (racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, sorophobia, transphobia, classism, mocking of mental health issues, body shaming, etc) in class are grounds for dismissal from the classroom. The same goes for any papers/projects: you cannot choose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do (ie: no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc). I take this seriously.
Further, Clark wrote in the syllabus that her class will discuss books that “may contain violent or disturbing imagery” and offered to provide students with a “trigger warning.”
“If, at any point, you would like a Trigger Warning before viewings/readings that may contain this imagery, please let me know and I’m happy to provide them!” she wrote
Clark’s syllabus generated attention after a concerned student leaked the document to Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative student advocacy organization.
How did the university respond?
The university acknowledged the syllabus is inconsistent with students’ First Amendment rights and has been updated.
Further, the university said Clark is undergoing constitutional education.
Here’s the complete statement, according to YAF:
The syllabus statement as written was inconsistent with the university’s standards and its commitment to the First Amendment rights of students. After reviewing this issue with the faculty member, the syllabus has been corrected to ensure it is consistent with university policy. Moreover, the faculty member is being provided additional information regarding the First Amendment policies of the university.
Iowa State is firmly committed to protecting the First Amendment rights of its students, faculty, and staff. With respect to student expression in the classroom, including the completion of assignments, the university does not take disciplinary action against students based on the content or viewpoints expressed in their speech.
Clark has been an assistant professor in the English department at ISU since last August, according to her LinkedIn page. She previously worked there as a lecturer.