Student gov to pursue mandatory LGBT 'ally training' for faculty

The newly-elected student government President and Vice President at Clemson University are already ruffling feathers with a proposal to institute mandatory LGBTQ “ally training” for faculty and staff.

Student Body President Killian McDonald and Vice President Jaren Stewart ran on a platform that included a commitment to raising Clemson’s “Campus Pride Index” score, which currently stands at 1.5 stars out of a possible 5.0.

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In addition to such steps as creating a “gender inclusive living-learning community,” offering annual “LGBTQIA+ admission fairs for new students,” and allowing students to easily alter their name and gender identity on university records, the McDonald/Stewart platform also specifies the goal of instituting “mandatory ally training for faculty and upper level staff on gender identity and sexual orientation issues.”

According to the Clemson’s website, “Ally Training aims to increase awareness and understanding of LGBTQ issues and to train allies to stand with, and advocate for, LGBTQ people.”

In one such Ally Training presentation, which is commonly shown to Resident Assistants, viewers are taught about the differences between Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Gender Expression.

One slide displays a plethora of LGBTQ flags, from the popular rainbow flag to banners representing more-obscure inclinations, such as “Asexual Pride,” “Genderfluid Pride,” “Bear Brotherhood,” “Leather Pride,” and “Lipstick Lesbian Pride.”

Another slide explains that “Gender Non-Conforming” people can be “Non-Gendered,” “Gender Neutral,” “Gender Queer,” or “Gender Fluid,” portraying gender identity as a sliding scale between “man” and “woman.”

One Clemson faculty member, who spoke with Campus Reform on the condition of anonymity, expressed disgust at the idea of making the training mandatory.

“Faculty and staff have enough on their plates. We do not have time for more mandatory indoctrination,” the faculty member declared. “If the University can identify an existing, voluntary training program, please let us know about it and we’ll determine if we deem it necessary.”

Jack Timmerman, a Clemson student, likewise derided the proposal as a form of indoctrination that could subsequently infuse the classroom.

“The Ally training course is completely unnecessary and immoral,” he argued. “It would force faculty to adhere to a certain worldview, when the purpose of higher education is to develop skills necessary to join the workforce in students’ respective fields.”

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McDonald and Stewart also addressed the issues of “hate speech” and cultural appropriation in their platform, describing “hateful and discriminatory speech and actions between students” and “explicit and implicit disdain and disregard for the cultural history and beliefs of some cultures,” as “plagues on Clemson’s student body.”

In order to correct these problems, they propose to send a “special representative to regularly brief the Board of Trustees” on racial and social relations, and to create a “special committee” to investigate why instructors were told to avoid the term “white privilege” in CU1000, a mandatory course for Clemson freshman.

Campus Reform reached out to McDonald and Stewart for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @RobertMGunter