Professor Prohibits Students From Criticizing Abortion and Black Lives Matter

School says the policy violates the First Amendment

Iowa State University / Source: Wikimedia Commons
August 18, 2020

A university professor said that she will dismiss students from her class if they argue against abortion or the Black Lives Matter movement.

Iowa State University professor Chloe Clark released a syllabus for a 200-level English class instructing students that they cannot argue against abortion, Black Lives Matter, and a number of other leftwing causes. It includes a "GIANT WARNING" that contradicting certain viewpoints may result in dismissal from class.

"Any instances of othering ... are grounds for dismissal from the classroom," the syllabus obtained by Young America's Foundation reads. "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 (i.e.: no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc.)"

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, both students and professors have faced backlash for criticizing the Black Lives Matter movement. At Florida State University, the school's student senate ousted its president after he said that Black Lives Matter is anti-Catholic in a private group chat. Students and faculty at Cornell University attacked a law professor at the school for criticizing Black Lives Matter on his blog, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago booted a University of Chicago economics professor from his role at the bank for criticizing the "Defund the Police" movement.

In a statement to the Washington Free Beacon, a university spokeswoman called Clark's syllabus "inconsistent" with the school's commitment to students' First Amendment rights. She also confirmed that the syllabus has been changed and that Clark has received additional information regarding Iowa State's First Amendment policies.

"The university does not take disciplinary action against students based on the content or viewpoint expressed in their speech," the spokeswoman said.

The Iowa State College Republicans believe the university's condemnation of the syllabus would not have come without national media coverage forcing the school's hand. College Republicans president Ryan Hurley told the Free Beacon that he is disappointed with the syllabus but not surprised.

"[Clark] is not out of the ordinary," Hurley said. "Many professors do these sorts of things and have these heavy left biases. I am also certain that if [articles about the syllabus] hadn't come out and gotten attention, [Clark] would not have faced any university pushback."

Clark did not respond to multiple requests for comment.