The student newspaper at a prominent Christian university has apologized for calling a professor's comments "transphobic" after she criticized President Joe Biden's executive order allowing biological males who identify as females to compete in women's sports.
Christina Crenshaw, a recurring lecturer in the English Department at the Waco, Texas-based Baylor University, faced criticism from students at the Baptist college as well as the student newspaper after retweeting a tweet from Daniel Darling, senior vice president of communications for the National Religious Broadcasters. Darling described Biden's "executive order on transgender issues and the expected overturning of the Mexico City policy on abortion" as "anti-science" and "bad for human flourishing."
The executive order on transgender issues and the expected overturning of the Mexico City policy on abortion are both anti-science and bad for human flourishing. And it will take some courage to say this publicly.— Daniel Darling (@dandarling) January 21, 2021
Crenshaw responded to the tweet, published on Jan. 21, by asking: "What if I don't want biological boys in the bathroom with my biological daughter? Do the 99% of us who do not struggle with gender dysphoria have a voice? No? What if I told you Title IX was never meant to apply to >1% of the students over the 99%? Doesn't matter? Cool."
The professor also left a comment on Darling's tweet, asking basically the same question: "What if I don't want biological boys in the bathroom with my biological daughter? Do the 99% of us who do not struggle with gender dysphoria have a voice? No? Cool."
After sending the tweets, Crenshaw quickly faced backlash. She ended up making her Twitter account private following the firestorm. The Baylor Lariat, the university's student newspaper, captured a screenshot of her reply to Darling and included it as part of an article detailing the criticism Crenshaw has faced, initially describing her comments as "transphobic."
According to the article, "The original quote retweet written by Crenshaw caused Baylor students to report her message to Title IX, BU Equity, Baylor NAACP and It's On Us BU. It has since been deleted." Crenshaw's subsequent response to Darling's tweet remains online, the student newspaper reports.
An editor's note that now appears at the top of the article states, "In reporting on this story, we characterized the tweets as 'transphobic.' We have since updated the story to instead describe the statement as controversial."
"We would like to formally apologize for this error in our reporting. It was irresponsible to publish the story as was originally posted. We should have simply reported on the facts of the situation, and we would like to apologize to Dr. Crenshaw for this lapse in our publication's journalistic standards and for unfairly labeling her tweets," the publication added.
"Our job is to report on the news on our campus, and we made a mistake in the manner in which we went about that. Our characterization of the statements was inappropriate, and we fully apologize for any harm this may have caused."
Speaking to the Baylor Lariat, Crenshaw's colleague, Dr. Kevin Gardner, the English department chair, praised her as "one of our most accomplished instructors of ENG 1310." According to Gardner, "Dr. Crenshaw is a temporary lecturer in the English department" and "she has been teaching for us off and on for several years."
A Baylor representative who spoke with the student newspaper said that she was not teaching at the university this semester.
One Baylor student told the Baylor Lariat that by hiring Crenshaw, the university has "given her their seal of approval," adding, "Even if she isn't a teacher here this semester, she was at one point and she might be again. I think that is the sort of thing where it really just goes to show that [Baylor] lives in silence on this subject. For them to have not responded ... for them to just not say anything at all, it reinforces that idea that they are silently in support of what she has to say."
"We do not want this to be the sort of thing that people see Baylor as," the student continued. "We don't want to be known as a transphobic university. We don't want to be known as a homophobic university. We want to be known as a safe and loving place where we can show Christ's love to all people."
According to her website, Crenshaw is an "interdisciplinary educator" with "nearly 20 years of experience with both secondary and post-secondary education." Additionally, Crenshaw "frequently speaks on human trafficking prevention at academic conferences and workshops" and "has also been invited to speak at ministry and church conferences."
Crenshaw is not the only Christian conservative to criticize Biden's Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation, one of several that he signed during his first week in office. Other prominent figures spoke out against the executive order in the hours following its implementation.
Terry Schilling, the director of the American Principles Project, warned that the executive order proves that "the Biden administration will prioritize forcing schools to allow biological males to compete in women's sports and to access women's private spaces" and "force hospitals to disregard medical science in favor of ideology, and business owners to act against their conscience and common sense."
Abigail Shrier, author of Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters, argued that following the executive order, a "new glass ceiling was placed over girls." She also claimed that the executive order "universally eviscerates women's sports."