Skip to comments.When Is Quoting Van Halen a Crime?(FIRE,gun)
Posted on 03/15/2012 2:36:40 AM PDT by marktwain
This week Gary D. Russi, president of Oakland University in Michigan, rejected a request from the Foundation for Inividual Rights in Education (FIRE) to reconsider the three-semester suspension imposed on a student for commenting on the attractiveness of his creative writing instructor in a journal he maintained as part of the course. The "daybook" was supposed to be "a place for a writer to try out ideas and record impressions and observations," including "freewriting/brainstorming" and "creative entries." The student, Joseph Corlett, says his instructor, Pamela Mitzelfeld, repeatedly assured him that no topic was off limits, which turned out to be not exactly true. In an entry titled "Hot for Teacher," Corlett reflected on the challenge of paying attention in classes taught by attractive instructors:
Then there's Mrs. Mitzelfeld, English 380. She walks in and I say to myself "Drop [the class], motherfucker, drop." Kee-rist, I'll never learn a thing. Tall, blond, stacked, skirt, heels, fingernails, smart, articulate, smile. I'm toast but I stay. I'll fuck up my whole Tuesday-Thursday class [schedule] thing. I'll search for something unattractive about her. No luck yet. Shit.
Two pages further in the journal, Corlett imagined a (fictional) warning from Mitzelfeld:
While your writing is fair, it is completely inappropriate. I have broken your rule and torn out the offending pages. If this continues, I am obligated to report you to the Dean. Otherwise I shall consider the matter closed.
Corlett nevertheless continued the "Hot for Teacher" theme. In an entry dated September 23, 2011, he likened Mitzelfeld to Ginger on Gilligan's Island while comparing another instructor to Maryanne. According to Corlett and FIRE, these two entries are the sole basis for Mitzelfeld's claim that he had sexually harassed her, which she made after collecting his journal at the beginning of November. In a November 29, 2011, memo to various colleagues, Mitzelfeld called Corlett a "Dangerous Student," citing letters he had written to the school newspaper "defending the right to carry concealed weapons on campus." Because of his Second Amendment advocacy, she said, "I cannot feel safe knowing that he might have a weapon on him at any time." She complained that Corlett's presence had created "an unacceptable and dangerous work environment" and concluded, "Either Mr. Corlett leaves campus or I do." As a result of Mitzelfeld's complaints, Corlett was banned from campus, suspended for three semesters, and ordered to undergo "sensitivity" training.
FIRE argues that Oakland University, as a government-run school, is bound to respect Corlett's First Amendment rights, which include "germane, class-related expression" such as the journal entries that offended Mitzelfeld. Adam Kissel, FIRE's vice president of programs, notes that Corlett's conduct falls far short of sexual harassment as it has been defined by the federal courts. Oakland's response, as expressed by Russi, General Counsel Boyd C. Farnam, and Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management Mary Beth Snyder, is that Corlett cannot use a First Amendment defense in an internal disciplinary proceeding and that the university's definition of "unlawful conduct" (the official charge against Corlett) need not conform to the case law dealing with sexual harassment. As Snyder put it, Corlett seeks to use "technical legal definitions and standards in defense to charges that are neither technical nor legal in nature, but rather, would be considered intimidating, harassing, threatening or assaultive behavior in the context of the University's academic, educational environment." In essence, says FIRE President Greg Lukianoff, "Oakland University made up its own definition of the 'law' in order to punish a student for his creative writing."
If you reject FIRE's premise that a state-sponsored university should face different legal constrants in policing student speech than a private university would, you may agree with Oakland's adminstrators that the First Amendment is irrelevant in this situation. But there is still the question of whether an institution supposedly devoted to free inquiry should be punishing students for writing things that offend their teachers. It's pretty clear that Corlett's journal entries did not amount to sexual harassment. Are they nevertheless a kind of disruptive speech that universities should punish? If so, was Corlett's penalty proportionate? Is your answer affected by the knowledge that Corlett is a middle-aged man who has been married for three decades? And what, if anything, do his views on gun control have to do with it?
FIRE's latest update, which includes links to relevant documents, is here.
Addendum: As I noted, the "warning" from Mitzelfeld was fictional, written by Corlett himself before she had seen the journal, so it is not the case that he persisted after being asked to stop.
disgusting cretin belongs in 4th grade at best
Van Halen was/is a crime in itself. First nail in the coffin of Rock and Roll IMO!
So the comely wench waltzes into class in tight, sexy clothing (apparently) and gets OH so offended when a young, male student points out the fact that he has a hard-on for her (deny all you want; that’s precisely the effect she was going for).
Give me one huge, honkin’ break.
More P.C. Run Amok nonsense. Her sorry-assed excuse for getting him booted centered around his defense of 2nd Amendment principles. See how offensive the Constitution is to the drooling Left?
Universities are expensive sewers; nothing more.
If you’re bored, google images: “Pamela Mitzelfeld Oakland University”.
She’s borderline hot, but mixed in with those images are pics of the “perp”. He’s not an eighteen year old with a woody for teach, he’s a FIFTY year old dork with a (viagra-enhanced?) woody for teach.
Whole thing is pretty silly if you ask me, but it makes more sense after I learned *that* small fact.
The 'student' is a married, for over 30 years, 56 year old.
“More P.C. run amok nonsense...”
PC doesn’t have to be running amok to be amok. Its mere existence as part of our reality is more than enough.
Nowadays; it is far more likely that teacher is going to be HOT for you...especially if you are a male under the age of 18.
Mr. Corlett is 56 and has been married 30 years.
to wit, there was the story of a man standing on a ledge high above the street below where the song "Jump!" blasted from one clever youth's automobile.
The teacher and every person approving this in the administration should be fired.
She herself came out and stated it was because of his politics.
This is clearly a civil rights case - HIS civil rights.
I’m sick of the Left.
Thanks for the tip. Regardless of the merits of the case (and I have to come down on the side of free speech here), there is no denying that the “student” is an a-hole. The “teacher”, especially given the assignment, should have a thicker skin and let it just roll off her back... but there’s no doubt about it... the “student” is an a-hole.
Tough toenails teach.
How is he an a-hole, he did not describe any sexual fantasies or anything like that. All he did was to say that she was attractive and that it might interfere with his concentration. He then compared her to someone else. It was supposed to be a class where you write what you experience. The teacher and school are totally wrong on this.
>> Regardless of the merits of the case (and I have to come down on the side of free speech here), ... The teacher, especially given the assignment, should have a thicker skin and let it just roll off her back...
I agree; the only thing that would change my mind is if there’s more to the student’s “advances” on the teacher than just his journal. If the journal was the ONLY thing, then yes, teacher (and school) are out of line; she TOLD the students (repeatedly) that “anything goes”.
That’s a 56 year old writing like that? Kick him and the professor off campus. Obviously there is no teaching or learning going on in this classroom.
Not saying she’s guilty but............I dont get the obsession.
He’s a 56-year-old fat loser pretending to be interested in “writing”, probably there to oogle the students and happened to get interested in the teacher.
Again, free speech should triumph, especially given the nature of the assignment, and the teacher needs a tougher skin, especially given that she gave out this assignment, but I’d bet big bucks (if verifiable) that this guy is a creep out looking for masturbation fantasies. A harmless creep. But a 100% creepola creep.
If I had a daughter in that class I’d be tempted to take the guy aside and give him a bit of a talking to.
Exercise my free speech.
Not all of us over fifty need viagra. If more fellas would lose some weight the would not need pills to play.
Tough toenails teach.I agree.
The real crime here is the fact that the State of Michigan took money from some hard working taxpayers slogging through the daily grind trying to put food on the table for their families and give it to some academic tart so she can entertain some bored 56 year old.
Can't he pay for internet porn himself?
Wow, how do you know this. It has not been reported anywhere so where did you get this info. Your are acting like the left, making things up and spreading misinformation.
If I had a daughter in that class Id be tempted to take the guy aside and give him a bit of a talking to.
Pathetic and immature response. You would take him aside for what, being like you are being here, childish.
Wo. Heebee-geebees, what a dog.
“BRAND NEW OAKLAND SCARF”
Love VH they were fun and great music to party too!
Not trying to speak for “samtheman”, but I think what he’s saying is that if some middle-aged fart happened to be in his daughter’s class and was ogling her (I’m not saying this particular guy was doing that), then he’d feel obliged to have words with him.
As a father of a bunch, including daughters, I’m quite inclined to agree with his sentiment.
>> Not all of us over fifty need viagra. If more fellas would lose some weight the would not need pills to play.
Hey, no offense; I’m over fifty and I don’t either. I just threw that viagra thing in for some extra snarkiness. :-)
I have no girls only boys. If evidence that someone was doing something to them (that they could not handle themselves) then I would help also. I just do not think it is right to accuse someone of bad intentions without something to back it up.
So many lessons here...
I worked with art school grads. The stories are endless. One example:
One guy told me that his art professor assigned his students to do something shocking, the following day.
“What could possibly go wrong?,” you ask facetiously.
You bourgeois simpleton!
Well, the first guy goes to the front of the class and takes a dump.
The second guy goes to the front of the class and strangles a kitten.
That’s when the professor decided to cancel the assignment.
All this, for just $15k/year. You could stay home and defecate and abuse animals for far less.
>>Wow, how do you know this.
Well, Mr. “Eningeer”, maybe Sam acquired reading comprehension skills?
“has managed to make himself known in negative ways to so many other females on campus,”
>>You could stay home and
>>defecate and abuse animals for far less.
Yeah, but then it wouldn’t be “art”.
Now my wild hunch. Liberal teacher is reacting mindlessly to his 2A politics, not his harmless scribblings. loser.
Sometimes there are NO “good guys” in a story. This sounds like one.
"Due to our recent discovery that Joseph Corlett has made his gun obsession obvious to other colleagues and has managed to make himself known in negative ways to so many other females on campus, I am feeling increasingly uncomfortable and unsafe," she wrote. "As he has written letters to our school newspaper defending the right to carry concealed weapons on campus, I cannot feel safe knowing that he might have a weapon with him at any time."
Typical leftist the guy rights letters to the school paper defending gun rights and therefore he is a threat.
If you feel this way also I have no use for you. I would consider you a "Fake but Accurate = FAIL".
Not sure how you arrive at that conclusion, though people arrived at that conclusion on Socrates so I guess it is not impossible.
The schoolmarm sounds like a loser, hypocrite and whiner to me.
I’ve already said I think the teacher and the school are on the wrong side.
I’m just voicing my suspicions regarding the character and the motives of this 56-year-old writing “student”.
As for Eningeer, I know it’s bad form to criticize typos in posts, especially in FR where you can’t go back and correct your posts (which is a good thing... I don’t want people editing history).
But your profile page? Ratman83? Really.
Just a tip from a writing teacher. (I have taught writing in the past, though I don’t do that now.)
I’ve read Socrates.
This guy is no Socrates.
I just saw Van Halen two weeks ago, they totally rocked, it was awesome ... It was great to see David Lee Roth back with them.
It seems Mitzelfeld has succeeded in making an impact on her students. RateMyProfessors.com, a popular website used by college students to evaluate professors, gives Mitzelfeld a 4.9 out of 5 stars in overall quality. Students' comments indicate that Mitzelfeld is "one of the best professors," "extremely helpful," "very helpful, passionate about English literature," and "cool."
However, it also seems Corlett was not the only student to notice Mitzelfeld's looks. Students on RateMyProfessors.com repeatedly comment that Miztelfeld is"hot" and she has received a "red hot chili" for the "hotness" rating on the site. What do you have to say about this from the article that you linked to LomanBill. Why are all the students who rated her not suspended? Where is your outrage.
Pardon my bad editing, with the “loser” fragment at the end. I really need to get this monitor out of the sunlight.
I just KNEW that was coming. Shame on you.
You set it up, as obvious as could be, just so you could cry “shame” when the obvious response was too tempting to pass up?
I think “shame on you” is fair turnaround.
However, before we get too deeply into this let me say I agree with you about Gingrich so can we just agree to disagree on some of the particulars here (especially given the fact that I agree with everyone here that the teacher and the school are basically on the wrong side on this)?
Wow bad form, you want to criticize my profile page, get a freaking life. You who do not even have one. I can see that it will be useless to continue a discussion with you, so have nice day.
It did not bother me. I do not worry about those types of things, the real issues are more important. I think that people who must resort to criticisms of spelling and grammar are usually doing it because they cannot win the argument through logic.
Why not just fix it? It will take you one second.
It’s ironic that you two are so huffy and hyper-sensitive on this thread when I’ve said repeatedly that I agree with the basic premise that both the school and the teacher are in the wrong here.
But because I had the temerity to question the motives of the 56-year old “student” you react just like that teacher reacted, with shocked outrage and righteous indignation (aka ruffled feathers).
No need to fix it because it gives bozos, like you, something to fixate on. Additionally provides me with a quick way of determining whether you are worth debating with. Most that have to resort to criticisms of spelling and grammar are usually doing it because they cannot win the argument through logic. Or are just to lazy to think.
Socrates??? Isn’t that the General Motors Company’s intra- or infranet site? Wow...Nothin’ better to do over there, eh?
I admire the guy. He paid tuition, I assume. The prof gave the assignment, right? Was he being sincere? Probably not...Maybe she’s a lesbian. I like it. He’s more of an activist. Good job, man! I think Rush would approve.
Again, its ironic that you are so huffy and hyper-sensitive on this thread when Ive said repeatedly that I agree with the basic premise that both the school and the teacher are in the wrong here.
But because I had the temerity to question the motives of the 56-year old student you react just like that teacher reacted, with shocked outrage and righteous indignation (aka ruffled feathers).
I set it up? Wow. If you have ever had any experience writing, or reading for that matter, you’d have understood I was saying: if they could make a case against Socrates they could certainly make one against this guy. Get it now?
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