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AMES, Iowa, August 18, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – After a professor at Iowa State University forbade students from questioning gay “marriage,” abortion, or the Black Lives Matter movement, she was told, after pushback, to change the course syllabus to protect students’ freedom of speech.
According to The College Fix, English professor Chloe Clark’s English 250 course syllabus stated that students “cannot choose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do (i.e. no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc.). I take this seriously.”
The syllabus, obtained by Young America’s Foundation (YAF), stated, “(A)ny 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 prof’s syllabus sparked a debate on Twitter. State Rep. Skyler Wheeler, a member of Iowa’s house education committee, tweeted that Iowa State University “wants more of your tax money so they can give it to professors like this.”
— Skyler Wheeler (@skyler_wheeler) August 17, 2020
Likewise, the Iowa State College Republicans tweeted their disappointment in the professor’s behavior. “It’s a shame that low quality professors use their power over students to suppress free speech!”
It’s a shame that low quality professors use their power over students to suppress free speech! https://t.co/9PsP1ASO3i
— College Republicans at Iowa State�� (@IStateCRs) August 17, 2020
On Monday, the university stated that the professor’s syllabus had been reviewed and found to be “inconsistent” with the university’s standards.
“The syllabus statement as written was inconsistent with the university’s standards and its commitment to the First Amendment rights of students,” the statement read. “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,” it continued.
“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 statement concluded, “the university does not take disciplinary action against students based on the content or viewpoints expressed in their speech.”
YAF spokesman Spencer Brown told The College Fix, “It is hopeful news to see a university take the side of the First Amendment and the free expression rights of its students — still, it is shameful that a faculty member ran so far afoul of basic educational practice and the Constitution that such a retraining of this kind is necessary.”
“Based on what we at YAF see and hear from our student activists,” he continued, “many administrators and professors could use a refresher on the First Amendment as the fall semester begins.”