The student newspaper at Baylor University, a Christian college in Texas, has apologized for calling a professor “transphobic” after she raised concerns about the unintended consequences of President Joe Biden’s recent executive order granting transgender women — biological males — access to female spaces.
Dr. Christina Crenshaw, a lecturer for Baylor’s English department, faced immediate blowback for criticizing the executive fiat that redefined Title IX protections to include biological males suffering from gender dysphoria. Biden’s action allows transgender women (men who identify as women) to compete in female sports, allows them access to ladies’ locker rooms and restrooms, and permits them to apply for women’s scholarships.
After retweeting a post from Dan Darling, senior vice president of communications for the National Religious Broadcasters, Crenshaw added her own comment.
“What if I don’t want biological boys in the bathroom with my biological daughter?” she posited. “Do the 99% of us who do not struggle with gender dysphoria have a choice? 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.”
It’s worth noting Crenshaw is, of course, far from alone in her concerns. Journalist and writer Abigail Shrier, author of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” criticized Biden’s executive action for placing a “new glass ceiling … over girls” and argued the move “universally eviscerates women’s sports.” British author J.K. Rowling, known for the “Harry Potter” novels, has also spoken out about the dangers the transgender agenda poses to biological women and girls.
Nevertheless, upon reviewing Crenshaw’s tweet, the university’s student-run newspaper, The Baylor Lariat, published screenshots of the professor’s offending posts and described her as “transphobic.”
Crenshaw has since made her Twitter account private after facing an onslaught of social media attacks for sharing her concerns.
On Thursday, the staff at the student-run paper apologized for disparaging Crenshaw, a recurring lecturer at the Texas school. Now, the following editor’s note appears at the top of the article:
Earlier this week we published a story surrounding tweets made by Dr. Christina Crenshaw that received backlash from Baylor students. In reporting on the story, we characterized the tweets as “transphobic.” We have since updated the story to instead describe the statements 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. 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.
In no way did Baylor have any knowledge of the story before it was published, nor did the administration demand or request an apology on our behalf since then. We take full responsibility for this mistake, and it shall serve as an important lesson about the power words have as we continue our education in journalism.
The post itself remains on The Lariat’s website and still features a screen shot of Crenshaw’s tweet.
Emma Fraley, a senior student at Baylor, told the newspaper that, by hiring Crenshaw as a recurring lecturer, her alma mater has “given her their stamp 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,” she continued. “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.”
She student went on to say Crenshaw is not worthy to represent Baylor.
“We don’t want to be known as a transphobic university,” Fraley said. “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.”
Crenshaw, who, in addition to serving as a researcher and professor, is a leading advocate against human trafficking, is speaking out now via her own Twitter account.
She explained Friday morning she is “stunned at the attempts of a small group of Baylor students to intimidate and bully a faculty member into submitting to a set of views with which I cannot in good conscience acquiesce.”
“That The Lariat, a student-issued publication funded by a Baptist university with a long tradition of defense for individual expression, orthodox theological interpretations, and civil discourse ran this ‘story’ about my criticism of Biden’s Title IX policy is disheartening,” she wrote, adding, “Perhaps now more than ever, we need robust defenses of individual liberty, particularly on matters of religious conscience. As people of faith, we also need to firmly root our rhetoric in logic, data, orthodoxy, and compassion.”
“Sadly,” the educator continued, “it seems we have lost the art of civil engagement; in a digitally connected but socially distanced society, where the beast of cognitive dissonance feasts, I fear we have lost a semblance of compassion and empathy. Those are core characteristics of human flourishing.”
Crenshaw also commended the editors at The Lariat for publishing an apology, describing it as a decision that “took a great deal of bravery.”
As for her future at Baylor, Crenshaw said she is, at this point, “not sure” what her next steps will be, writing she hasn’t yet determined if she “can stay [at Baylor] in good faith.”
“I’m prayerfully considering options,” she concluded.