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.