Trials & Litigation

Banned from campus over 'Hot for Teacher' essay, college student loses free speech suit

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A federal judge in Michigan has dismissed a free-speech suit filed by an Oakland University student who was banned from campus for several semesters after writing an essay about his attraction to his creative writing instructor.

It was titled “Hot for Teacher” and described her as “tall, blonde, stacked,” the Associated Press notes.

In a motion to dismiss (PDF) filed at the end of April, counsel for the university said Joseph Corlett’s complaint concerned “curricular speech,” which can properly be restricted. (The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education also provides links to other documents in the case.)

“Under the curricular speech doctrine, the slim protection afforded to Corlett’s speech was negated because Defendants had legitimate educational and pedagogical bases for restricting and punishing that speech,” wrote the university’s counsel, Leonard M. Niehoff and Sean F. Crotty of Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn.

A federal judge apparently agreed, finding that language in the essay might be appropriate for a karaoke bar, but doesn’t have to be tolerated in a college setting, the AP reports.

Corlett’s lawyers could not immediately be reached by the news agency for comment.

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