An Iowa State University instructor included a “GIANT WARNING” in her syllabus for her fall English 250 course, banning students from writing papers or working on projects that argue against gay marriage, abortion, or Black Lives Matter.
A whistleblower provided a copy of the syllabus to Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), wishing to remain anonymous for fear of any possible backlash they could face. YAF published a screenshot of the syllabus to their website in their exclusive report.
The syllabus banned students from “any instances of othering”, defining “othering” as “racism, sexism, ableism, transphobia, sorophobia, transphobia, classism, mocking of mental health issues, body shaming, etc”. Such attitudes “are grounds for dismissal from the classroom.”
The syllabus’ warning continued by expounding on topics that were banned from papers and 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,” the warning – written in bold – concluded.
The instructor – Chloe Clark – graduated from Iowa State University in 2016 according to YAF’s report and now teaches in the English department.
English 250 is a required course for graduation.
YAF reached out to Iowa State University for a comment. The University responded informing YAF that the syllabus has been corrected to reflect the University’s commitment to the First Amendment, and that the instructor “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,” the statement read.
In the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May while in police custody, and the protests that followed, Iowa State University aligned itself with the Black Lives Matter movement.
One June 10th, Dean Sharron Evans published a statement in which she highlighted the higher unemployment, incarceration, and poverty rates experienced by Black Iowans.
“These findings reflect systemic, long-standing policies and practices which have created fundamental disadvantages for Black people and other marginalized communities,” the statement read.
“At a systemic level, we commit to a critical examination of our own policies and practices, from classroom teaching to faculty and staff recruitment, to ensure that they are truly equitable.”