“Giant Warning”: Iowa State Professor Attempts To Ban Students Who Question Black Lives Matter, Abortion, Or Other Forms Of “Othering”

download-1Iowa State University is embroiled in a controversy this week that involves two of the favorite subjects of this blog academic freedom and freedom of speech.  At the center of the controversy is ISU English Professor Chloe Clark who issued a syllabus for her English 250 class that banned students from expressing opposing to Black Lives Matter, abortion, same sex marriage or other causes or groups. She warns students that they will be dismissed and “I take this seriously.” Iowa State has intervened after an outcry and forced Clark to remove the language.

The syllabus reportedly contained that following warning (not just a warning actually, but a “GIANT WARNING”):

“GIANT WARNING: any instances of othering that you participate in intentionally (racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, [sic], sorophobia, transphobia, classism, mocking of mental health issues, body shaming, etc) in class are grounds for dismissal from the classroom… 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.”

Sidenote: I could not find a good definition for “sorophobia” as a form of “othering.” I did find this reference to a work on  “sorophobia” on the differences among women in literature and the need  to stop “the process of destructive ‘othering’ and … to continue the process of recognizing difference while refusing to re-create negative images of otherness.” If anyone has a good definition, let us know. Notably, Clark participates in an online publication called “Cotton Xenomorph” which explains its “no creeps” policy as “anything with language of oppression. That means: prejudice, racism, xenophobia, classism, sexism, ableism, serophobia, fat-shaming, intolerance of religion, homophobia, etc.”  “Serophobia” is a fear of people with HIV or contracting HIV. The Iowa State Daily did explain how Clark led a “Feminist Friday” focus group that discussed her use of “monster theory” to combat “othering,” or judging those who are different.

Putting nomenclature aside, Iowa State did take a stand for free speech and issued the following statement through a spokesperson:

“The syllabus statement as written was inconsistent with the university’s standards and its commitment to the First Amendment rights of students. After reviewing the 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 . . . 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 university does not take disciplinary action against students based on the content or viewpoints expressed in their speech.”

That is a strong and commendable statement for those who are concerned about a rising orthodoxy and intolerance on our campuses. Of course, the “giant warning” of Professor Clark will remain a giant concern of students over her tolerance for opposing views even without the express speech bans.

Notably, like many academics who incongruously oppose free speech and free though, Professor Clark seems to display the very bias that she says she loathes.  “Otherism” has been defined as the exclusion of a person based on their perceived diversions from an acceptable norm.” That would seem precisely what Clark is doing in silencing those who depart from her own acceptable norm.

The controversy is reminiscent of another recent controversy (out of LSU) where Professor Alyssa Johnson asked her colleagues for the names of any students who they believe espouse hateful views so she could ban them from her classes.  There is a sense of entitlement among such academics today in the enforcement of an ideology or orthodoxy.  It is a view that comes from a cultural shift on our faculties not just in terms of ideology but pedagogy.

Recently, the American Association of University Professors gave an award to a controversial academic in recognition for work that “transcends the division between scholarship and activism that encumbers traditional university life.” I have no problem with the award or the professor’s advocacy. Indeed, I have defended the right of faculty on the left and right to speak freely on social media and in support of political causes. However, the idea that the division between scholarship and activism “encumbers traditional university life” was startling. There is a role for such a separation of our roles as advocates outside of the classroom and our role as academics inside the classroom. Our students come to learn not to be indoctrinated by our personal political and ideological bias.  Professor Clark is the inevitable result of the erosion of that distinction.  It is the difference between pedagogy and orthodoxy.


114 thoughts on ““Giant Warning”: Iowa State Professor Attempts To Ban Students Who Question Black Lives Matter, Abortion, Or Other Forms Of “Othering””

  1. I’m interested in the definition of sorophobia as well. <y best guess is that it's a misspelling of serophobia, which is a fear of HIV+ people, but that's a guess.

    1. It’s always a good practice to judge a book by its cover. /sarc

      But it’s Rhodes, so it’s not a surprise.

      1. I read that book many times in my college days, and the cover always looks the same.

        Of course in her case, I already knew the contents of that book, thanks to the article.

        I.E.- Ugly and angry at the world for being born ugly. It is written all over her face.

        She feels like the world owes her. But the world was here long before her. So it owes her nothing.

  2. The way Prof. Chloe Clark is threatening to dismiss students for expressing opinions she deems “othering” (where did such a term come from?) suggests that free speech is NOT dead on her campus, but is alive an well in classes that attempt to indoctrinate a SJW world-view. She wouldn’t have issued this Giant Warning unless she were 1) fearful of having to face down meritocratic arguments questioning something she presents in class, and 2) near certain that such challenges are forthcoming, based on previous experience.

    Those who do Corporate Training in “Diversity” and who expect to persuade white attendees with critical race theory are running into a wall of meritocratic buzzsaws. If you take the time to peruse college student newspapers who invite open commenting on their Opinion pieces, you will find leftist orthodoxy being met with civil, firm and reasoned criticism AT EVERY JUNCTURE.

    The classroom is becoming a place where committed students can speak up, and effectively counter leftist dogma. It’s best done by asking pointed questions. This is a game they can win, because leftists have long since grown intolerant of being asked pointed questions from other leftists. This leaves leftist opinions open to easy criticism.

  3. Why hasn’t the FBI investigated the global communist campaign to infiltrate American universities and corrupt and brainwash students?

    Why hasn’t the FBI investigated how a corrupt co-conspirator in the Obama Coup D’etat in America was ensconced as the FBI Director by the Deep Deep State through the Advice and Consent of the Senate?

    1. Too busy investigating Trump for his (imaginary and perjured about) illegitimate ties to Putin, who is, apparently, the wrong brand of sociopathic tyrant. (Who knew that there is a ‘wrong brand’?) The Feral Bureau of Instigation needs to be disbanded and replaced with (I’m not sure what).

  4. OT: Self praise is a democrat feature even when they are responsible for killing people. They even added a law to NYS to provide immunity to those officials involved in the negligent deaths.

    On Same Day as His DNC Speech AP Reports Governor Cuomo Killed 11,000 New Yorkers in Nursing Homes, Not 6,000 …And It’s Likely Much Higher

    New York did a worse job than ANY COUNTRY on Earth!

    On Monday, the same day that Governor Cuomo trashed President Trump in his DNC speech, the AP updated their numbers and now believe at least 11,000 New Yorkers died in nursing homes from coronavirus.

    It is likely much higher than this.

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo should not be celebrated.
    He should be investigated.


    1. “New York did a worse job than ANY COUNTRY on Earth! And if you separate the stats of NY, NJ, & CT from the rest of the country, the rest looks pretty good.

      With the likely exceptions of the PRC (possibly 20-21 Million– gov’t. (MIIT) stats regarding # of cell-phone accounts in country), and North Korea (?– who the f–k knows what the he– is going on in there).

      This doesn’t in any way invalidate your point. The (now definitively established via body count) dumber Cuomo brother ‘screwed the pooch’ by any reasonable, humane definition– to the point that NY, once a safely ‘blue’ state, may be ‘in play’ in November. Isn’t it funny how his XO ordering nursing homes to take ChiCom Lungrot patients disappeared from the the state websites? (I had to go to the ‘Wayback Machine’ to find it.)

      But we might amend your statement to refer to ‘any country with a remotely humane government’.

      1. When you found it at the wayback machine was your’s a printed copy or the actual document with the seal of NY? If the latter please send the http. I have it on my computer but my link to that actual document doesn’t work.

  5. The word for “sister” in Latin is soror, sororis. Its combining form would be sorori-. So, sororiphobia. Although even that objectionably combines Latin and Greek roots. Technically, it should either be sororitimor or adelphephobia.

  6. At least she was honest about it. When I was in college decades ago, even then we had professors who pushed their opinions onto the students. The syllabus was always silent about the requirement to agree with the professors. After getting graded down if we disagreed, we learned quickly that we had to parrot back what the professor believed. Needless to say, having to speak and write false opinions represents the only memorable thing about those classes, although in retrospect being subjected to such intolerance made me research opposing opinions more (and embrace them after learning more).

  7. Professor Clark should be banned from teaching period. She or any one is free to advocate any ideas but forbidding students from discussing different ideas disqualifies her from teaching professions. Therefore, I am even more concerned that the university still employs her.

    1. Quan Le – when I was teaching Public Speaking in college, there were about 4 topics that I finally had to ban. I kept having fist fights in the halls afterwards.

    2. A good teacher appreciates students who disagree with good arguments. For a student to do that shows the intelligence to argue well and the courage to do so. It gives the teacher a chance to learn from new arguments. And it is a compliment to the teacher, as the student shows confidence that the teacher will take disagreement in the right spirit.

  8. Here is a picture of Ms Clark. Behold the face of a BLM riot and looting apologist. She works on the taxpayer dime, encouraging nationwide insurrection


    Dept: English
    Email: cnclark@iastate.edu
    Office: 316-C Curtiss Hall
    Ames IA
    Phone: 515-294-2180

    Freedom of speech means that people can write her an email telling her what they think about what she’s done to try and bully her students.

    Sometimes bullies need to be confronted.

    1. I agree. You should write the Board of Regents. Demand firing of this incompetent socalled teacher.


      You can find addresses by poking around i am sure.

      The leftists have proven this much: THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE

      normal decent people need to spend more time complaining to responsible authorities to remove the incompetents in education. Loud, angry protesting is not out of the question, but if you can’t bother to write a letter or email, then probably getting out there on a hot day for a protest is too much to ask. Start easy and complain in writing

      I’ll give you a template

      “Dear Dr Michael Richards:

      There is an incompetent professor engaged in harming young students minds at the Iowa State Campus named Chloe Clark. She is punishing students who do not agree with her personal political viewpoints by threatening to flunk them. This inappropriate and very wrongful policy harms students and the university and the public. We demand that you fire her immediately.

      As a federal taxpayer, my personal income goes to indirectly help fund your institution and pay your salary, too. I demand as a taxpayer that public resources be used properly to educate the youth and not force unacceptable and illiberal viewpoints down young people’s throats on pain of bad grades. Enough is enough. If you fail to take prompt corrective action, we will demand your removal for failure to perform your fiduciary duties.

      I will be writing all my representatives to complain, and the ones in your location as well. We will also be complaining to the press about this in the meantime.

      Sincerely, Citizen X”

  9. Professor Clark “othered” dissenters. She also fails to grasp the basic concept that it is possible to oppose the BLM movement while fully acknowledging that black people have the same human rights and inherent worth as any other race. After all, BLM is bigoted against cops, favors crime, bails looters out of jail, is anti-capitalist and pro-socialist. It’s rich in material to oppose, which has nothing, whatsoever, to do with black people. BLM also does not speak for all black people, and it is racist to claim it does.

    What do you think the chances are that Professor Clark’s students heard her message loud and clear and self censor their speech and writing, anyway? While the university might interfere if she dismissed them from class, the reasonable presumption would be that she would penalize papers she graded by students with which she disagreed. In short, her judgement and character have come into question.

    This is exactly the example of how an employee’s speech can damage a business. She should have kept her personal opinions to herself, outside the classroom. Instead, she has created an environment hostile to conservatives. If parents begin to realize that many universities are essentially brainwashing institutions turning out worthless degrees and saddling students with debt, perhaps they will be more discerning on where to send their children. We don’t scrimp and save for 18 years so our kid can come home covered in tattoos, unable to make it through a meal without spewing hatred at their parents, with a degree in gender studies, no job prospects, and $150,000 in debt.

    Universities are getting a bad reputation for being Democrat far Left madrassas. They are no longer institutes of higher learning and rigorous intellectual exercise. They don’t even have a reputation for turning out marketable degrees. There are all these fluff degrees now, excuses to take ever more student money. With the proliferation of loans, the cost of education went up, and the offerings of non marketable degrees increased. Instead of fixing this problem, the proposed solution is to dump even more money on colleges, with taxpayer-funded tuition. This will remove all incentive for colleges to keep costs down, or to maintain a strict portfolio of useful degrees.

    1. A campaign to get her fired starts here today

      write the head of the board of regents and demand that she be fired

      if Dr Michael Richards, the boss of the bosses there, fails to act promptly then he should be fired too


      write the Iowa reps and write your own. your federal tax dollars means you are paying for this illiberal wretch named Chloe Clark to harm young minds.

  10. “Recently, the American Association of University Professors gave an award to a controversial academic in recognition for work that “transcends the division between scholarship and activism that encumbers traditional university life.” I have no problem with the award or the professor’s advocacy. Indeed, I have defended the right of faculty on the left and right to speak freely on social media and in support of political causes

    SFSU Professor Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi posted on Facebook her displeasure with SFSU Preisent Wong’s statement that that Zionists were welcome on campus.”

    Would that group of academics be as gracious to a Jewish person who remarked similarly about Palestinians? The award is not the problem. The problem is the mindset of academia that discriminates against ideas varying from their own. This Professor Turley is where your opinions disadvantage the less favored side when intellectual freedom is involved.

    1. Rabab Ibrahim Abudubabi is not a scholar. She’s a political sectary and the program in which she teaches is spurious.

  11. Who cares? Minor player corrected by the University.

    Now, about that Senate Intelligence Committee Report……

    1. The only actual correction would be dismissal.

      Again, if you don’t like the topics, stink up some other combox.

      Faculty appointments are subject to intense screening and there’s been a reserve army of the unemployed in academe for decades. That this inadequate human being landed a job is indicative of what doesn’t bother the other faculty. This woman is too rude and vulgar to have concealed any of these to hiring panels.

        1. You don’t have to be perfect to be a professor. Not being bigoted and threatening against conservative students, and understanding a difference between a movement, and a race, should have been pretty basic requirements.

          1. One doesn’t need to be perfect. (No one is.) But one does have to strive to not be wretched. (And she failed.)

  12. Sounds like these people are in serious need of diversity-of-thought training – though I doubt it would do any good. They’re as brainhumped as the students they’re grooming.

  13. So, this is a good thing. An instructor screws up and gets called on it. Call to arms? A professor, instructor, teacher, etc should be allowed to teach only based on their mastery of the subject and ability to convey that subject. She stepped outside of her lines and was spanked. Enough? or shall we crucify her to vent our spleens.

    Now, where are the lawsuits Turley is launching against all those institutions that support the curtailing of free speech?

    1. Hell, she just wanted to be liked and fit in. Only lacking a bit in critical thinking. She has been punished enough by this blog. JMO.

      1. delmaracer – it is not uncommon for “new” teachers to make mistakes and get called on it. It is part of the process. How she handles it will depend on how long she works there.

        1. This isn’t a ‘mistake’. It indicates a complete and multiform misunderstanding of her function. It’s not going to go away with a rebuke from the provost.

          1. Yeah, but if it does and she is effective in her subject, do you throw out the baby with the bath water? What is important here is not this instructor’s stepping over the line; but that the institution spanked her for it. Turley’s blog is obsessed with this subject and regardless of whether or not this is a good thing or a bad thing, just venting or actually changing things; Turley is a lawyer on top of a teacher, on top of a budding politician. Wouldn’t someone with his aspirations profit by going after some of these institutions in ways that typically effect changes, the ways of the pocket book. City governments and institutions are governed in similar ways. When the losses from lawsuits mount along with the bad press, changes are typically made that reflect public opinion. Case in point, the officers in the George Floyd killing were not charged, only fired, until after public opinion manifested itself through demonstrations and riots. The public got the attention of those who governed. The big bucks are yet to be awarded, but awarded they will be and large enough to make an impression, hopefully.

            Those that govern remain in place based on their representation of the majority public opinion, theoretically. Given that the US in most all of its levels and compartments of governance is oligarchical, or run by fat cats with money to buy political exposure more than the majority’s desires, the one accessible avenue is the law and lawsuits. Over the past months that may have been years, Turley has exposed many, many dozens of instances where those in governance have opposed freedom of speech as is mentioned in the Constitution. It would seem that if only for the sake of exposing these instances, irrespective of financial punishment, there would have been many lawsuits launched by our budding representative of the people.

          2. Absurd, can you elaborate on the best way to get Chloe Clark fired?

            What small actions could the readers of this blog do, to punish her for daring to harm young minds in such an awful way?

            I want people to understand, that sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander
            the squeaky wheel gets the grease

            and so cretins like this wretched miseducator can and should suffer personal consequences for their audacious wrongdoings

            if we are strong we can make it happen
            if we are too weak then we need to try anyway and grow our muscles to make it happen the next time
            if we never start trying then we never get the job done

            So what’s the best way to get Chloe Clark fired?

              1. What was Pelosi doing in Chinatown back in February after Trump announced the China travel ban?

                More importantly. What was Pelosi doing in January while Trump was already focused on the Corona virus?

                Biden will lose in November, Isaac. You can thank the Antifa/BLM rioting, along with the idiotic “Defund the Police” meme, and the fact that almost everyone now knows that Biden has Dementia, for that reality.

                1. When any reasonable person listens to Biden and then to Trump, irrespective of the political content, it is impossible to see Trump as any less mentally dysfunctional in any way than Biden. Biden sometimes comes off as a little distracted, somewhat like a person searching for words to attach to thoughts, a not uncommon condition that is accepted in everyone other than our political champions. Trump, however, comes off as a blithering idiot. Whether or not he is a blithering idiot is debatable but listening to this disgrace is downright embarrassing.

                  Regarding the Covid-19 mess, Trump sat by for six weeks + while the virus ran rampant. Statistics, comparisons, common sense illustrates that Trump is responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, deaths that could have been avoided. The closest to reality Trump came was when he exclaimed, “I am not responsible.” This is true. Trump was and remains irresponsible.

                  Pelosi wasn’t and isn’t President. Trump was and is President. This is all on Trump. If Trump can take credit for the economy and low unemployment, all of which was accomplished under Obama, then at a minimum, 100,000 deaths are on him. He’s the guy who was supposed to ‘fix it’, the ‘only one’. Remember.

  14. She’s an instructor, not a professor.

    You might want to hire someone to make corrections for you, Jonathan.

  15. “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 university does not take disciplinary action against students based on the content or viewpoints expressed in their speech.”

    Good for them! GO ISU!

  16. I for one just cannot understand how these glimmer of infantile thoughts morph into a topic this large, taking up so much face to monitor and keyboard time that could be used for something so much more productive.
    Reminds me of the image of man coming out of the sea in a semi-erect vertical stance, then SCHAZAM.

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