Transgender activists use Iowa State climate reporting system to remake university
In an Iowa State University classroom recently, students began discussing the touchy issues of abortion and birth control when a student spoke up and declared those topics to be “women’s issues.”
Yet one dissatisfied student took to the university’s Campus Climate reporting website to complain that the discussion, which took place in September, was offensive to the trans community.
According to the student, declaring abortion and birth control women-centric issues “erases trans men and people who are non-binary who get abortions and/or use birth control.”
The student then reported the professor to administration, complaining “there was no push back by the professor to get students to be more inclusive and instead repeated this erasure.”
This report was one of 49 filed with Iowa State’s “Campus Climate” staff over the last year obtained last week by The College Fix through a public records act request. (The names of the individuals involved were redacted by the university to protect their identities.)
The Iowa State climate program is similar to so-called bias response teams at other universities, and it aims to “provide support for those who report being impacted by hate, intolerance or bias on campus.”
According to the university’s website, the climate team may ask those named in complaints to engage in “constructive dialogue,” although officials insist there are no “disciplinary sanctions” imposed.
Iowa State spokeswoman Angela Hunt told The College Fix that information collected from the website is “shared with campus partners who follow normal protocols for their unit.”
Hunt said the campus climate reporting process has been in effect since 2017, and noted the Campus Climate Response Team includes members from the Office of Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion, Dean of Students Office, Department of Residence, ISU Police Department, Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, University Counsel, University Human Resources and Strategic Relations and Communications.
“Reports through the website are referred to the appropriate partner who will determine what, if any, next steps will be taken by their administrative unit,” Hunt said in an e-mail to The Fix.
In the past year, the climate reporting system, which allows students and faculty members to anonymously report one another, has been used frequently by transgender activists to inform on professors and other campus institutions. Of the 49 reports, about 20 percent dealt with issues such as “trans erasure” or “misgendering.”
In August 2018, a student reported having a discussion with their music professor about gender and pronouns, but complained the professor was still having problems with “misgendering.”
“Today was worse,” the student wrote, “in that I corrected him twice and on the second time he said ‘He, she, it, whatever.’”
A week later, a student reported another professor for joking that students should be able to tell an individual’s sex just by looking at them. “He then made a face expressing uneasiness,” the student wrote.
In another complaint, a student last fall visited Thielen psychiatric services on campus, and while filling out the paperwork, noticed only women were asked when they had their last menstrual cycle.
“Women are not the only people who have menstrual cycles,” the student wrote. “Trans-men can have menstrual cycles, as can non-binary people, etc.”
The student was concerned that merely seeing the question could be damaging to trans individuals, saying it could “trigger dysphoria in people seeking health services at Thielen.”
And in December, a transgender student changed their name in the school computer system, only to later find out the computer switched back to their “dead name.”
“This is a possibly dangerous situation for me since I am a forestry major and my program is more conservative,” the student wrote. “Seeing or hearing the name causing me [sic] intense mental grief and I literally cannot take it.”
Other transgender-related reports with the website included:
· A student says they were having a discussion with their boyfriend about hormone replacement therapy when a stranger walked up and asked if they had “sex changes.”
“It was an invasive, disrespectful, and rude way of asking about our lives, and I felt pretty unsafe, considering I did not know how this person would react to the truth,” the student reported.
· Multiple reports were filed when students wrote sidewalk messages in chalk supporting President Donald Trump and controversial Iowa Congressman Steve King.
“As a transgender individual, this blatant disregard and disrespect for the Americans who have suffered because of Steve King’s misogyny, racism, homophobia, and transphobia made me feel unsafe on a campus that should be welcoming to all,” a student wrote.
“Having to literally walk over support for people who do not believe that I personally deserve basic human rights has put one hell of a damper on how comfortable I feel on campus,” the student wrote.
In a separate complaint, a student said seeing the words “Steve King” on a sidewalk “makes me feel as though my life is in danger and that I should hide who I am.” (It is possible this complaint came from the same student.)
· Another student complained that someone had written “2 genders” in purple chalk and “Support Life” in pink chalk on a sidewalk outside of the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center.
· A student e-mailed the Iowa State Admissions Office requesting another student be removed from the school for saying she would refuse to call transgender students by their preferred pronouns. “If they have a vagina, they are a girl,” the offending student allegedly said on a video taken during a class.
When asked how several of these complaints were resolved, Hunt declined to answer, saying the university “cannot comment on the outcome of specific reports.”
As for other complaints filed over the last year:
· A “young man in black shorts” was reported when someone overheard him on the phone saying he once had to hit his girlfriend.
· An upperclassman told a group of younger students if they didn’t follow a certain professor’s “golden rules,” they should be “lynched.” The student was then reported.
· A class of 2022 student was overheard asking a female student to text him nude pictures of herself.
· A student reported another student for having “a mini-fridge full of alcohol” in their room.
· When 10-15 “cis males” were drawing anti-abortion messages in chalk on a sidewalk in front of the library, a female student walked over and began pouring water on the chalk to erase the messages. Some of the males became irate, telling her “you’re going to regret doing that.”
When she walked away, two of the males followed her still trying to talk to her, so she began running. She told a friend she has since “sought campus resources for her mental health.”
· A recent ISU graduate called to report a car he had seen on a highway that had an Iowa State vanity license plate that said “BEARCST.” The ex-student thought that could only translate to “Be a Racist,” and felt “highly offended.”
In recent weeks, Iowa State has erupted in protest after anti-semitic and anti-transgender messages have been found written in chalk on campus sidewalks.
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