Home Scandal and Gossip ISU professor forced to change syllabus after banning criticism of BLM

ISU professor forced to change syllabus after banning criticism of BLM

ISU Professor Chloe Clark
Pictured, ISU Professor Chloe Clark. Image via Iowa State University.
ISU Professor Chloe Clark
Pictured, ISU Professor Chloe Clark. Image via Iowa State University.

ISU Professor Chloe Clark of Iowa State University forced to correct her syllabus after forbidding students to criticize Black Lives Matter, gay marriage or abortion. Defining role of education.

Is a good education one that teaches preferred points of views or one that encourages all points of views, even those ideas that may offend you or run contrary to dominant peer pressure….?

An Iowa State University (ISU) professor who told her students they were forbidden from submitting work criticizing Black Lives Matter, gay marriage or abortion was forced to ‘adjust’ her syllabus this week to better protect free speech rights on campus.

English Professor Chloe Clark informed her students they could not ‘choose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do’, College Fix reported.

Labeled a ‘GIANT WARNING’ in a portion of the syllabus banning ‘instances of othering’, Clark alerted members of her English 250 class that they could offer ‘no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter etc,’ adding that she ‘takes this seriously.’

‘[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 professor wrote.

ISU Professor Chloe Clark
Pictured, ISU Professor Chloe Clark. Image via Iowa State University.

Gross abuse of power

A screenshot of the syllabus was first shared by Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth organization who accused Clark of encroaching on students’ First Amendment rights and discriminating against conservative students.

‘This blatant discrimination against conservative students, in particular those who are pro-life or oppose the Marxist BLM organization cannot stand at an institution of higher learning,’ YAF wrote in a blog post.

Adding, ‘Warning students that any opinion the professor may disagree with could be grounds for dismissal from the classroom is a gross abuse of power.’ 

In response to the fallout, Iowa State University has spoken out against Clark’s syllabus, describing it as ‘inconsistent with the university’s standards and its commitment to the First Amendment rights of students.’

The school, which voiced it support of the Black Lives Matter movement in June, clarified that it raised the issue with Clark and her syllabus has now been amended to ensure its ‘consistent with university policy’.

‘Moreover, the faculty member is being provided additional information regarding the First Amendment policies of the university,’ Iowa State said, adding that it ‘does not take disciplinary action against students based on the content or viewpoints expressed in their speech.’

The YFA responded saying the university had made the right choice.

Social media responds

‘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,’ spokesperson Spencer Brown said.

‘Based on what we at YAF see and hear from our student activists, many administrators and professors could use a refresher on the First Amendment as the fall semester begins.’

According to her LinkedIn profile, Clark has worked at ISU for the last seven years in a number roles before becoming an Assistant Professor of Teacher in August last year.

The emergence of her syllabus has also sparked debate online. 

State Rep. Skyler Wheeler, a member of Iowa’s house education committee, tweeted ‘[ISU] wants more of your tax money so they can give it to professors like this.’

The Iowa State College Republicans also tweeted ‘It’s a shame that low quality professors use their power over students to suppress free speech!’

Earlier this year, ISU settled a lawsuit filed by a free speech advocacy group who accused the school of obstructing First Amendment Rights.

Filed by Speech First, the lawsuit was settled last spring when the university agreed to remove its policy banning sidewalk chalkings and other limits on acts of political expression the dailymail reports.

The organization said the previously implemented policies stifled political speech at a time when presidential politics are an especially hot topic on the campus.