Wednesday, March 14, 2012
On February 10, 2012, Adjunct Law Prof Blog covered a story about a college student who wrote in an essay that he was attracted to his professor, here. That blog entry generated a significant amount of commentary, including commentary from the student and other university officials.
The student appealed his suspension and recently Oakland Community College in Michigan denied his appeal and upheld a three semester suspension from school together with a requirement to take a class in sensitivity training. The Foundation of Individual Rights in Education or ("FIRE"), includes a significant amount of details about this case, here. FIRE describes the controversary, in part, as follows:
Corlett's ordeal began in early November 2011 when he submitted his writing journal to his Advanced Critical Writing professor. Her course materials describe this "daybook" as "a place for a writer to try out ideas and record impressions and observations," and state that it should contain "freewriting/brainstorming" and "creative entries." According to Corlett, he verified with his professor that he could write about anytopic. In other assignments in the course, he had written on sexual topics and received high grades.
One entry in Corlett's journal, titled "Hot for Teacher," quotes the 1984 Van Halen song of the same name and tells a story of being worried about being distracted in class by attractive professors. A separate September 23 entry states that his professor is like Ginger from the television series Gilligan's Island, while another professor is like the character Mary Ann.
On November 29, his professor announced to some of her colleagues, "Either Mr[.] Corlett leaves campus or I do." On December 7, Dean of Students and Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Glenn McIntosh and Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management Mary Beth Snyder pressured Corlett to withdraw from his winter semester classes.
Interesting, Oakland County Community College features this student on its web site as one of the winners of a 2009-2010 student essay writing competition, here.
I would be interested in knowing whethe or not the student plans on appealing his suspension in court. In New York, courts pay a significant amount of deference to school administrators and do not second guess their decisions. I assume Michigan law is similar.
Mitchell H. Rubinstein