A University of Texas at San Antonio administrator threatened a bisexual student with discipline after the student criticized Islam, according to a Monday interview.
Eve Browning, chair of the school’s philosophy department, called graduate student Alfred MacDonald’s remarks “derogatory” and said they would not “be tolerated,” in an audio recording obtained by The College Fix, which also interviewed the student.
MacDonald asserted that his talk with Browning occurred after he told campus peers that he was concerned he could be killed for being bisexual in 10 Muslim nations.
“Well, let me just say that kind of thing is not going to be tolerated in our department,” Browning told MacDonald. “We’re not going to tolerate graduate students trying to make other graduate students feel terrible for [their] emotional attachments.”
When the student called UTSA’s First Amendment protections into question and asked whether he could be dismissed for his comment, the philosophy chair responded in the affirmative.
“Those are things that would get you fired if you were working in my office,” said Browning. “The Islam comment would get you fired.”
“How?” asked MacDonald.
“Don’t even ask,” Browning replied. “It’s clear you’re not taking my word for it. I don’t care to convince you. If I can’t persuade you that it’s in your interest to behave in ways that other people don’t find offensive and objectionable, then at least I’ve done my job.”
Browning noted that MacDonald, who Gay Star News reported has since transferred to a different school, could find himself the subject of an inquiry by UTSA’s behavioral intervention team. While the philosophy chair did not respond to The College Fix’s request for comment, UTSA spokesman Joe Izbrand did.
“We do not and will not take disciplinary action for students exercising their freedom of speech rights,” said Izbrand, dismissing the possibility that MacDonald could be expelled for his comment, but also suggesting that the behavioral intervention team would look into such cases and respond with measures that were not punitive.
“In the philosophy department, there was an overwhelming sense that everyone wasn’t saying everything they were thinking,” MacDonald told The College Fix. “Very few people — students or faculty — were direct with their complaints about virtually anything….The graduate students were reserved to an unusual degree.…It felt like I was in high school again; people should be direct, straightforward, and transparent with each other to the extent that this is socially possible, and this was the opposite of what I experienced.”
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