Rachel McKinnon

Tenured Professor Receives Backlash From Tweet

On August 21st, a status was posted to Magdalen Bern’s Facebook page announcing that the British youtube personality has been moved to a palliative care unit due to glioblastoma [brain cancer]. Magdalen Berns has battled cancer for nearly a year now.

Berns is a noted feminist online personality. Berns has also been deemed a “transphobe” and accused of having a following of “TERFs” [Trans-Exclusive-Radical-Feminists]. In June of 2019,the notable author J.K. Rowling caught heat for following Berns on Twitter. Berns has made comments against transgender individuals stating “There’s no such thing as a lesbian with a penis” and “Misgendering is violence? Nah, mate.” Berns Twitter feed is full of other hateful rhetoric, She has even compared transgenders to “white people who use black face.”

Dr. Rachel McKinnon [she/her/hers] is an associate professor of philosophy at The College, and also faculty for women and gender studies. She also is a world champion cyclist and trans woman. McKinnon hopes to compete in the 2020 Olympics.  The tenured professor went to her personal twitter account to allegedly comment on Berns’ medical state.



Since the initial tweet, Dr. McKinnon’s twitter feed has been filled with criticism against her statements, in which McKinnon doubled down on her initial stance.



Others have turned to the College of Charleston in demands for a statement on how they will handle the social media use of the professor. The official College of Charleston Facebook page and Twitter has reviews and posts demanding action. Some others have gone to Medium, an online freelancing platform to voice their opinions. The article, titled “Open Letter to Larry Krasnoff (Philosophy, College of Charleston), John Gordon (Director, how to: Academy), and Little, Brown and Company concerning Dr Rachel McKinnon’s Social Media Conduct” can be read here.


In October Dr. McKinnon is to speak in the UK in a talk titled “Transgender Athletes and the Science of Fairness | With Dr. Rachel McKinnon,” however because of her tweets, some are trying to stop the speech from happening. On Dr. McKinnon’s feed she calls those speaking out against her “TERFs” or “Transphobes.”  She says this because many critics are misgendering Mckinnon or refusing to acknowledge her preferred pronouns in their tweets/posts.

The College has released this statement:

Faculty comments and statements are protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (freedom of speech) and in the College of Charleston’s academic freedom policies found within the Faculty/Administration Manual.  

The College of Charleston encourages all of its faculty, staff and students to conduct themselves within the bounds of its adopted core values. Central to those core values is the concept of “community,” which we define as a “commitment to compassion, mutual trust, respect, civility, collegial shared governance, teamwork and the general welfare of the institution and the individual.”  

The College expects its faculty members to make every effort to exercise appropriate restraint and show respect for the opinions of others when engaging them on challenging issues.

CisternYard Media is awaiting comment from Dr. McKinnon.
The College of Charleston offers resources for those apart of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Gender and Sexuality Equity Center
Safe Zone
PRISM [Formerly Gay-Straight Alliance]

If you have any updates on the story contact news@cisternyard.com

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Cheyenne Abrams is the Editor-in-Chief of CisternYard News. She is a low-country native who has had her share of living around the United States. In her fourth year at CofC she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications with a focus on journalism and public relations. In her free time Cheyenne likes to hangout with her four dogs and play board games with her friends.


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