A college syllabus went viral online when a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley tried to ban students from saying “God bless you” in class this semester.
“Please refrain from saying, ‘God bless you’ during the classes and exams,” the professor’s syllabus instructed — before complaints from students forced a quick deletion, KGBT-TV reports.
Pictures of the college course’s syllabus went viral on social media this week after the university’s first ever day of classes.
The station is not identifying the professor who, from the context of the syllabus, appears to specialize in statistics.
Officials at the school refused to appear on camera but did release the following statement:
“The professor’s syllabus sought to identify examples of potentially disruptive behavior the professor believed could hinder the classroom learning environment, including use of cellphones. The intent was not to limit the religious freedoms of UTRGV students, but to avoid unsolicited comments that might distract others.”
“I honestly wouldn’t have a problem with it,” said Aaron Bravo, a UTRGV student who saw the image on social media along with thousands of others, but did not know who first posted it.
“It shouldn’t really be a problem, because it’s the teacher’s classrooms,” said Bravo.
However, not everyone agreed, with some students explaining how they don’t understand why saying “God bless you” is a problem.
“It’s kind of ridiculous, First Amendment, freedom of religion. It’s there. We shouldn’t have to block that out of school,” said student Marcos Villarreal.
John Taylor was in shock over the rule.
“You shouldn’t have a boundary on what you believe in, especially in the classroom,” said Taylor. “I would’ve not said anything, but it would’ve bothered me, because as common courtesy, I say ‘God bless you’ to people who sneeze.”
The University of Texas Rio Grande is the result of a merger between the University of Texas at Brownsville and the University of Texas–Pan American. Those institutions are now no longer in existence.
Syllabi which attempt to prevent students from saying certain things have shown up at other campuses this fall, The Daily Caller reports.
Earlier this month, the president of Washington State University had to announce that taxpayer-funded professors on campus can’t flagrantly censor politically-incorrect terms or require students with white skin to “defer” to minority students.