INDIANA, Pennsylvania., March 15, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A religious studies major has been banned from a religion course for asserting that there are only two genders, putting his planned May graduation in jeopardy.
Lake Ingle, an Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) senior, said he has been punished by Professor Alison Downie for challenging her during a session of her class “Christianity 481: Self, Sin, and Salvation.”
The class was forced to watch a TED-Talk on February 28 featuring Paula Stone, a transgender woman, who gave examples of “mansplaining,” “male privilege,” and systematic sexism. Following the video, Ingle wrote that the instructor “opened the floor to WOMEN ONLY. Barring men from speaking until the women in the class have had their chance to speak.”
After some time had elapsed, Ingle stated he “took this opportunity to point out the official view of biologists who claim there are only two biological genders,” and refuted the “gender wage gap,” after which class resumed as normal.
“The floor was opened, and not a single woman spoke. Thirty seconds or so passed and still no woman had spoken. So, I decided it was permissible for me to enter the conversation, especially because I felt the conversation itself was completely inappropriate in its structure,” Ingle told Campus Reform. “I objected to the use of the anecdotal accounts of one woman’s experience to begin a discussion in which they were considered reality. It was during my objection that Dr. Downie attempted to silence me because I am not a woman.”
Ingle later found out that his efforts to engage in an intellectual, collegial conversation resulted in banishment from the professor’s class.
Prof. Downie referred Ingle to IUP’s administration for corrective action, charging him with, among other things, “angry outbursts in response to being required to listen to a trans speaker discuss the reality of white male privilege and sexism,” and “disrespectful references to the validity of trans identity and experience.”
A letter addressed to Ingle from Provost Dr. Timothy Moerland, which seeks to remedy the situation by forcing Ingle to claim guilt while clearing Prof. Downie of any wrongdoing, was provided to Campus Reform.
The “agreement” letter states that “Lake will write an apology to the professor which specifically addresses each of the disrespectful behaviors described above.”
“Lake [Ingle] will begin class with an apology to the class for his behavior and then listen in silence as the professor and/or any student who wishes to speak shares how he or she felt during Lake’s disrespectful and disruptive outbursts on 2-2,” the agreement letter continues. “Due to the serious nature of the issue, you are barred from attending this class in accordance with the Classroom Disruption policy.”
“My professor is violating my First Amendment rights because of the fact that my views and ideology is different from hers,” Ingle explained to Fox News. “So she took it on herself to silence and embarrass me – bully me – for speaking up in class.”
“During my time as a Religious Studies major, I have had professors insult me for opposing views, call me names such as ‘racist’ or ‘sexist’, and have had my views discredited due my race, gender, and sexual orientation,” Ingle stated in a now deleted Facebook post. “It is my belief that the instructor’s decision to file these sanctions is an attempt to bully me into redacting my views, making it a matter of free speech.”
Downie’s IUP profile says she earned her PhD in Systematic Theology at a Catholic institution, Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, “with a concentration in Christian Feminist Theology. Her academic interests include ecofeminist theologies, disability theologies, religious understandings of self and memoir, religious themes in literature and film, and interfaith dialogues. She is also active in the scholarship of teaching and learning.”
Her profile further states that she is affiliated faculty for the Women’s and Gender Studies and the Sustainability Studies programs, and serves as the advising coordinator for the Religious Studies Department.
“Downie has earned the Faculty Recognition Award in Content Pedagogy from IUP’s Center for Teaching Excellence,” according to the university.
In addition to her academic responsibilities, Downie sometimes bares her soul – and her antipathy toward those not like her – on a non-academic blog site, Feminism and Religion, which indicates her aggressive bullying tendencies are not limited to the classroom.
Downie wrote that on a recent Sunday:
I happened to drive past a non-denominational church in the small college town where I live. It rents space on the main street, in an old movie theater. On this day, a group of enthusiastic church goers gathered on the sidewalk, advertising the service about to begin with handmade posters. They appeared to be mostly young, and I imagined they were probably students at the university where I teach. I glanced their way, wondering if I would recognize a student from one of my classes.
A young man I did not recognize leaned toward the curb as I passed, aiming his poster at me. It read, “SMILE! It’s Sunday!”
I felt slapped in the face, stunned, and then . . . enraged.
ENRAGED by a proselytizer who wanted to brighten someone’s day with a happy sign.
Though I drove on in steely silence, I wanted to slam on the brakes, storm into that cluster of shiny happy young people and throw down a Molotov cocktail of sudden death, mental illness, tragedy, and suffering of all kinds into their church street party: “NO! I will NOT smile because it’s Sunday. And who are you to tell me I should? Who are you to imply that if I do not smile, I somehow don’t measure up to your understanding of what faith or salvation is?”
Rage boiled within me for miles and miles, churning over the shame these young people tossed around in an insular, and therefore, arrogant obliviousness.
Later in the posting she gives us insight into her actions against Lake Ingle:
In a classroom, in my professional life, I’m perhaps hyper-vigilant in preventing potentially shaming exchanges.
Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University (OWU), posted on Twitter that he’d waive tuition fees for Ingle to take OWU’s Christianity 481 class and finish his remaining coursework at OWU.
“We still teach biology and Christian orthodoxy,” said Piper.
I’m officially offering Lake Ingle tuition waiver to take our version of “Christianity 481” and other remaining coursework at @OKWUniv where we still teach biology and Christian orthodoxy @FoxNews @foxandfriends @LakeIngle https://t.co/HcsB942HiN
— Dr. Everett Piper (@dreverettpiper) March 14, 2018