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Gesundheit, Not 'God Bless You'

September 14, 2015

A professor at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley asked students in a class syllabus to “Please refrain from saying ‘God bless you,’” before the statement was removed amid outcry from students, KGBT reported. Neither the station nor the university has named the professor, whose syllabus turned up on social media last week as some criticized the request as limiting free speech. But the university said in a statement that the 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 students, the university said, “but to avoid unsolicited comments that might distract others.”

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Colleen Flaherty

Colleen Flaherty, Reporter, covers faculty issues for Inside Higher Ed. Prior to joining the publication in 2012, Colleen was military editor at the Killeen Daily Herald, outside Fort Hood, Texas. Before that, she covered government and land use issues for the Greenwich Time and Hersam Acorn Newspapers in her home state of Connecticut. After graduating from McGill University in Montreal in 2005 with a degree in English literature, Colleen taught English and English as a second language in public schools in the Bronx, N.Y. She earned her M.S.Ed. from City University of New York Lehman College in 2008 as part of the New York City Teaching Fellows program. 

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