The safe spaces of students at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee are being threatened by a black conservative professor of law who is outspoken about her Christian and conservative beliefs. And before they crush under the pressure of a different worldview from their own, students are hoping to exterminate the threat before they are scarred for life.
The suspension of Professor of Law and Political Science Carol Swain is being called on through a Change.org petition that, as of this writing, is only 40 signatures away from its stated goal. These students are calling for an investigation by the university to look into allegations of "unprofessional intimidation on social media, discriminatory practices in the classroom, and unclear representation as a Public Figure with invocations of the Vanderbilt name on her Facebook page."
The petition continues:
Over the past few years, Professor Carol Swain has become synonymous with bigotry, intolerance, and unprofessionalism. While Swain first and foremost has a right to her personal beliefs and the right to freedom of speech within and outside of the classroom, it recently came to the attention of the Vanderbilt community that Carol Swain has let her hate-filled prejudices negatively impact her work, our student body, and Vanderbilt’s reputation.
The allegations include Swain publicly humiliating students and grading minority, LGBT, and non-Christian students unfairly. None of these allegations have proven to be true. But if the investigation reveals that they are, and these students really hope that happens, the next demand is for Vanderbilt to offer mandatory diversity training for all faculty, including Swain, and to conduct a review to see if her views could be misconstrued as speaking for the university. And until all of this has been settled to the satisfaction of students, Swain is to be suspended.
The petition included links to several op-eds by Swain to highlight her "dangerous" beliefs. It is careful to state that these are just provided as a samples and is in no way "an attack on her beliefs or freedom of speech/press."
In one, Swain wrote about the Charlie Hebdo massacre and criticized Islam:
Islam is a dangerous set of beliefs totally incompatible with Western beliefs concerning freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of association.
It becomes clearer every day that Islam is not just another religion to be accorded the respect given to Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Baha'i and other world religions.
Shortly after this piece was printed in The Tennessean, Swain received a package that said "fondle with care" and it contained a cutout of a penis inscribed with "you need to loosen up a bit." She believes it was in response to that article and filed a sexual harassment complaint with police.
In another, Swain wrote from her Christian perspective on same-sex marriage and the students found it upsetting:
If we must live side-by-side with gay couples in a culture with a strong crusading homosexual agenda, our only hope is to strengthen ourselves spiritually and intellectually for the battle that awaits us.
The petition including the quote above and a link to the story conveniently left out the part in which Swain concluded that she was not advocating for forcing homosexuals to embrace her values or change their behavior, but hoping to encourage Christians to stand up for their beliefs against the waves of liberal agendas.
Swain has taken to Facebook to defend herself against this petition and said the student responsible for starting the petition has since apologized:
The National Review article she links to concludes perfectly:
Clearly, she has no place on today’s college campus. She’s an unsafe space personified. Heaven ( are we allowed to say that?) forbid any precious dears be exposed to viewpoints different from inspected, tested, and approved progressive orthodoxy. They might have to suffer the inconvenience and indignity of thinking.