Iowa State University forced one of its English professors to revise her syllabus this week after she threatened to dismiss students who disagree with her on abortion and other political issues.
According to Young America’s Foundation (YAF), Professor Chloe Clark wrote a “GIANT WARNING” on her English 250 class syllabus outlining “grounds for dismissal” from her classroom. These included any papers or projects that argue against killing unborn babies in abortions.
After LifeNews and other news outlets exposed the story, the university responded by forcing Clark to correct her syllabus to reflect its “standards and its commitment to the First Amendment rights of students,” the Christian Post reports.
“After reviewing this issue with the faculty member, the syllabus has been corrected to ensure it is consistent with university policy,” Iowa State said in a statement to the Post. “Moreover, the faculty member is being provided additional information regarding the First Amendment policies of the university.”
Before the university took action, students could have been dismissed from Clark’s classroom for arguing that unborn babies deserve a right to life.
In the initial syllabus, Clark claimed that the pro-life position is a topic that “takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do.”
Her initial syllabus, published by YAF, included the following language:
“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.”
YAF spokesperson Spencer Brown said the university’s swift action on the matter was “hopeful news.”
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“It’s still shameful that there is a professor at a public university who thinks this is okay, that didn’t think there would be a problem with this,” he told the Post. “And so, ensuring that professors that do this kind of thing are held accountable, I think, will go a long way toward making them think twice before they try to just blatantly suppress the rights of conservative students.”
In its statement, Iowa State University emphasized its commitment to protecting the First Amendment rights of all 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,” it said.
Pro-life students frequently are targets of discrimination. In May, a group of pro-abortion students at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio referred to a new pro-life student club as “terrorists” and began a petition to get the club kicked off campus.
Students for Life of America also has documented dozens of vandalism incidents against student pro-life clubs on campuses across the U.S. in the past eight years.