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Chloe Clark

Iowa State University

Chloe Clark is an English professor at Iowa State University.  She received national attention for banning her students from debating certain topics in her class.

In a leaked syllabus for an English 250 class, Clark threatened to dismiss any student that engages in “racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, serophobia, transphobia, classism, mocking of mental health issues, and body shaming.” Forbining any opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement and abortion, Clark stated that expressing any alternative views,

“ …are grounds for dismissal from the classroom. The same goes for any papers/projects: you cannot chose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic rights as you do (ie: no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc). I take this seriously.”

Ironically, Clark states that a “central concept” of the course includes the formulation and presentation of arguments by students:

“An argument can be any text – written, spoken, aural, or visual – that expresses a point of view…In this course, you’ll summarize, analyze, and evaluate various types of communication and then use those skills…” 

Although the university announced that the syllabus had been corrected, Clark has a history of attempting to limit her students’ freedom of speech. At a weekly “Feminist Friday” event hosted by Clark the prior semester, she discussed how the use of the term “illegal alien” was a form of “othering,” or an act of discrimination – a theme that she admits to teaching in her classes. She also asks her students to reflect on the way their “privilege” may negatively impact others:

“You shouldn’t feel guilty, you can’t change the way you were born, but you can use your privilege in productive ways.”

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