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ISU: ‘Corrective action’ taken on prof who banned topics

August 25, 2020 GMT

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State University has taken steps to correct an English teacher’s syllabus that initially banned students from submitting work that opposes Black Lives Matter, gay marriage, abortion and other social issues.

ISU English instructor Chloe Clark’s syllabus spelled out that students could not not choose a writing topic that “takes at its base that one side doesn’t deserve the same basic human rights as you do,” the Ames Tribune reported.

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Clark also indicated that students could be dismissed from her course if they engaged in marginalizing those whose identities differ from their own. Clark’s syllabus has since been revised so that it conforms to university policy protecting students’ free speech rights, according to the Iowa State Daily, the school’s student newspaper.

The syllabus drew national media attention and criticism from free speech groups. ISU said in a statement that Clark was given guidance on students’ First Amendment protections.

“Instructors are prohibited from using teaching or grading methods that prevent students from full participation, including expressing their beliefs and viewpoints in assignments or class discussion,” the university said in a statement sent Tuesday to The Associated Press.

Clark did not immediately return a message left Tuesday by the AP with the university’s media relations department.