It’s hard out here for college students. Not only will they enter a terrible job market after they graduate, they will find out that the First Amendment of free speech doesn’t apply to the essays they write while in college.
A 57-year-old man named Joseph Corlett sued Oakland University in Michigan after he was suspended for writing an essay called “Hot For Teacher,” which was inspired by the 1984 Van Halen song. The U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan dismissed the lawsuit Corlett brought against the school earlier this week. Judge Duggan said Joseph Corlett’s essay about lusting after his professor, Pamela Mitzelfeld, and the “descriptions of her physical appearance are not entitled under First Amendment protection.”
Duggan went on to explain, “When Plaintiff referred to his Oakland University English professor as ‘stacked’ and graphically compared her to a sitcom character he fetishized in a writing assignment, he brought a pig into the parlor.”
Corlett wrote the essay in 2011 for his creative writing class and said he was unaware he couldn’t write about certain topics in his journal. In the essay, Corlett described his professor as “all, blond, stacked, skirt, heels, fingernails, smart, articulate, smile.” Corlett turned in the journal in November of 2011 and was immediately called into the dean’s office. After a campus hearing, Joseph Corlett was suspended from Oakland University after he was found guilty on charges of intimidation. Due to those charges, Corlett was suspended for three semesters, banned from the campus, and ordered to seek out psychological counseling.
Since Judge Duggan threw the case out, Oakland University’s lawyer said it was “gratifying that [the lawsuit] has been dismissed so promptly and decisively.” He went on to say, “Our view from the beginning was this was a case that never should have been filed.”
Corlett’s attorney said she and her client are disappointed in the ruling of the case and are finding out what the next step is.