In an email sent Monday afternoon, Kennesaw State University Professor Jalessah Jackson told the students of her Gender Studies “Love and Sex” class that she is relocating that evening’s class and approaching it in a different “format” than usual. The new location? The Campus Green. The new format? A protest against bestselling author and Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles. The students are “expected to be present” at the protest of the mainstream conservative, Jackson asserts in the email.
In the email to her students, a screenshot of which was published Monday by Young America’s Foundation (the organization sponsoring Knowles’ appearance on campus), Prof. Jackson begins by pulling almost word for word from an announcement posted on Facebook earlier by progressive activist groups providing details about the protest ahead of Knowles speech.
“Dear Students,” the email reads. “I am emailing to inform you all of today’s class format and meeting space. KSU Young Americans for Freedom will be hosting a transphobic [event] today, Monday, Oct 21 called ‘Men are not Women’ with Michael Knowles, who has been known for his racist and transphobic comments. You may know him as the man who was recently banned from Fox News for calling Greta Thunberg a ‘mentally ill Swedish child’.”
Jackson goes on to inform the class that they are “expected to be present” at the protest event.
“As a class, we will be coming out to support trans students at KSU. We want to communicate to the campus and broader community that transgender people have advocates on campus who support them and their right to exist,” she continues, again drawing almost verbatim from portions of the progressive activist group’s earlier announcement.
“Although the event is 4-7 pm, you all will be expected to be present during class time 5:00-6:15pm,” she writes. “However, feel free to come early and stay the entire time.”
Forcing students to attend a protest is obviously a violation of the First Amendment and far oversteps any reasonable school policy on employee advocacy of a political view or cause.
Called out for the apparent coercion of students to protest another student group’s event, Jackson seem to contradict her assertion that students would be “expected to be present during class time,” insisting to Young America’s Foundation that students would not be “penalized for not attending.”
“Attendance will not be taken for today’s class,” Jackson told YAF. “As a result, students not in attendance will not be penalized for not attending.”
As The Daily Wire reported earlier Monday, the protest of Knowles’ speech was organized over the weekend by progressive student activist groups Kennesaw State United and Kennesaw Pride. Below is the full text of the announcement of the protest, some of the language of which Jackson heavily borrowed in her highly problematic email to her Gender Studies students:
Stand with the Transgender Community: Educating the Campus on Trans Issues & Identities
KSU Young Americans for Freedom will be hosting a transphobic event this Monday, Oct 21 called “Men are not Women” with Michael Knowles, who has been known for his racist and transphobic comments. You may know him as the man who was recently banned from Fox News for calling Greta Thunberg a “mentally ill Swedish child”.
Our campus continues to be a hostile and dehumanizing environment for marginalized people, while the university protects hate and allows it to proliferate.
This event will be peaceful to ensure the safety of trans people on campus as historically KSU has not acted to protect marginalized people. The campus climate is very hostile and we don’t want to ignite more hate against the trans community. Please be mindful of the effects of your actions on the campus LGBTQ community.
We’ll be coming out to educate the campus on transgender issues and identities. We want to communicate to the campus and broader community that transgender people have advocates on campus who support them and their right to exist.
The event begins at 4:00pm on the Campus Green. We’ll be handing out information and speaking with passerbys about LGBTQ issues, addressing transphobic misconceptions, and educating people about the effects of hate speech on marginalized communities. People are welcome to bring blankets, snacks, Pride flags, signs, balls, bubbles, or any other material that contribute to our mission and makes the space more comfortable. NO AMPLIFIED SOUND (megaphones or speakers) or STAKES IN THE GROUND.
The demonstration will begin at 6pm and consists of a few speakers sharing their perspectives and experience. Again, signs and flags can be used. We’ll occupy the space without being too loud, rambunctious, or anything that will alert KSU police or dilute our positive message of education and goal of protecting the trans community from increased hate.
There is a possibility that transphobes, white supremacists, and others may approach. If approached, please minimize your interactions with them for your own safety and everybody else’s. If you’re comfortable, however, you may engage in productive conversation away from others as to not disrupt the positive space.
At 7pm, Young American for Freedom’s event will start. Although we have no plans to enter or disrupt the event, for those who decide on their own to enter the event, please be aware of the impact of your actions on the transgender community. Outbursts or combative behavior can be used against us by these groups to further marginalize trans people and incite transphobia.
For everyone involved in our efforts, please defer to KPA and KSUnited for guidance on conduct.
Please contact us if you have any questions.