This week, Young Americans for Freedom discovered that Professor Chloe Clark from Iowa State University warned conservative and pro-life students that if they express their opinions in her English Course, they will be dismissed. Her syllabus started with the following warning:
“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.”
Let’s take a second to appreciate the ridiculousness of this professor. Universities should be a beacon for intellectual debate and respectful honest dialogue. Instead, Professor Clark uses her classroom as a platform for her ideological agenda and students that oppose her agenda should just shut up. This professor clearly fears solid pro-life arguments for the dignity of the preborn and would rather stifle pro-life speech than argue against it.
Most shocking, however, is the glaring contradiction of her position on human rights. While maintaining her moral superiority as a purveyor of human rights, she condemns students for standing up for the most vulnerable preborn human beings. She takes “seriously” her stance that arguments against abortion are the same as taking away “basic human rights.” But despite her many years of education, she neglects to understand how “basic human rights” work. If you do not have the right to life, all other rights are meaningless. The right to life undergirds all our freedom and abortion is a clear threat to the dignity of the person and our freedom as a nation.
In addition, she speaks of abortion as a “basic human right.” But if our rights as women must be obtained by killing other humans, then it is not a right – it is oppression. It is offensive to women when we are told that the only way we can be fundamentally equal to men is by having the ability to kill our own children. This is not empowerment or equality. Women and children deserve better and Professor Clark is going to stifle the speech of students who are standing up for the equality of all.
Another contradiction that Professor Clark fails to see is that free speech is also a basic human right. So not only is she advocating for taking away the basic right to life for the preborn, she is also actively bullying students to prevent them from using their First Amendment right.
One of the student leaders of ISU Students for Life, Audrey Nelson, responded to Professor Clark is the following statement:
Perhaps one of the most striking parts of this situation is the professor’s rationale for banning pro-life projects. In her syllabus she said, “…you cannot choose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do.” Ironically, the abortion ideology does exactly that. It asserts that because a child is the womb, he or she does not deserve the same 14th Amendment right we all enjoy, the right to life. The science is very clear, life begins at the moment of conception. To treat another human being differently because he or she is little and still developing is a cruel form of discrimination.
The professor’s policy was not only inconsistent with her students’ First Amendment rights, it was also inconsistent with the philosophy she claims to hold. Abortion is the ultimate form of discrimination; it kills another person by categorizing them as something other than human. As pro-life students, we value the life of every human being, young or old, black or white, man or woman. As for this professor, we affirm her dignity and respect her as a fellow human being even though we couldn’t disagree more on this issue. Our hope is that she will see the humanity of our youngest and most vulnerable children and change her stance on abortion.
Iowa State University must do better by holding accountable professors that use their authority and power against students that disagree with them.