Students sign petition to suspend black professor at Vanderbilt
November 10, 2015 at 4:05 pm
A petition to “temporarily suspend” Carol Swain from her tenure position “as a professor of political science and law” at Vanderbilt University has been circling Facebook for the past few days. The petition was created in response to transphobic and homophobic articles and statements Swain has posted on her public Facebook page over the past few weeks.
Swain has also spoken out against the Black Lives Matter movement, criticizing them for not focusing on black on black crime and abortion rates among black women.
Many on campus see her rhetoric as hateful and think it threatens the potential for a productive and inclusive campus environment. On her Facebook page, Swain has denounced student critiques with Bible verses and name-calling.
This petition is not the first time she has been criticized by the Vanderbilt Student body. In early 2015, Swain published an anti-Islamic piece in The Tennessean. The article, titled, “Charlie Hebdo attacks prove critics were right about Islam,” prompted an on-campus student-lead protest.
The petition has prompted an official response from the University.
“Ensuring that our campus is a safe, welcoming, and supportive environment for every member of our community has been, and will remain, our top priority. We are equally committed to freedom of speech and academic freedom, which are the foundations of our university’s scholarly activities. We fully appreciate the concerns reflected in the petition about speech that is considered deeply offensive and hurtful. We will bring these values to bear as we engage with our students, alumni and faculty on these important issues.”
Chris Purcell, director of ‘LGBTQI Life at Vanderbilt’ also released a statement, asserting that the “opinion of one faculty member does not reflect the Vanderbilt I experience on a daily basis.”
As of 1 p.m. today, the petition has over 1,300 signatures.