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Student who criticized radical Islam reprimanded by university official, threatened with dismissal

A student at a Texas university in San Antonio was brought into a school administrator's office after making a comment about the way Muslim countries treat gay people. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Sara Gonzales

A bisexual student at the University of Texas at San Antonio felt compelled to transfer schools after a comment he made about the treatment of gay people in Muslim countries landed him a meeting with a department head.

What was the remark?

According to student Alfred MacDonald, he was speaking with a group of classmates — outside of class  — about religion when another student mentioned she was Christian, but her fiance was Muslim.

MacDonald told his classmate that he didn’t have a high opinion of Islam because of the religion’s attitude toward the LGBT community.

“There are 10 Muslim countries where I could get executed,” he told his classmate, according to the College Fix.

What happened next?

MacDonald said he was called to a meeting with Dr. Eve Browning, chair of the Department of Philosophy and Classics, who told him if the behavior continued, he would be referred to the school’s behavior intervention team or student conduct board, who would either recommend counseling for MacDonald or dismissal.

“Well, let me just say that kind of thing is not going to be tolerated in our department,” Browning said during the meeting, which was recorded by MacDonald and can be found here. “We’re not going to tolerate graduate students trying to make other graduate students feel terrible for [their] emotional attachments…. And, if you don’t understand why that is, I can explain fully, or I can refer you to the Behavior Intervention Team on our campus, which consists of a counselor, faculty member, and person from student affairs who are trained on talking to people about what’s appropriate or what isn’t.”

“I thought that UTSA was a public university with, like, First Amendment protections? So like I can’t, I could be dismissed for stuff like that,” MacDonald asked before Browning told him he could in fact be dismissed from the school because of the comments.

“Those are things that would get you fired if you were working in my office. The Islam comment would get you fired,” Browning said.

“Would it really get me fired to say that I could be killed somewhere,” MacDonald replied.

“In that situation as you’ve described it, absolutely yes,” she said.

Did MacDonald stay at UTSA?

MacDonald transferred schools shortly after his meeting with Browning.

“It was difficult to stay motivated knowing that any revision to any paper I made might be ran past the department head if it offended someone,” he said.