'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

Summary: A 'sexually suggestive' journal entry led to a student's suspension and barring from campus grounds - and yet he is allowed to continue studies online.

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A Michigan college student has been suspended from studies on campus after writing a 'sexually suggestive' journal entry about his teacher for a classroom assignment.

Joe Corlett, 56, an Oakland University student, is considering legal action after being suspended for three semesters and banned from campus after writing the essay about his teacher, and his attraction for her.

Pursuing a degree in writing and rhetoric at the university, Corlett wrote the essay as part of a creative writing journal assignment on his course. The entry in full can be viewed here.

Inspired by the 1984 Van Halen hit "Hot for Teacher," he wrote about his first impressions of his tutor, describing her as "tall, blonde, stacked, smart, articulate". The student says that he was unaware of any restrictions on the assignment, and felt that the teacher would not be offended as many of his other submitted assignments were related to his attraction for women.

"She made it clear she didn't want us to edit," Corlett says. "She wanted the raw stuff."

Corlett wants the suspension to be lifted in order to be able to complete the course, with another professor if need be. The university has stated it is unable to comment on the case, citing student conduct and privacy concerns.

"The real issue is the First Amendment," Corlett said. "It's about academic freedom and about due process. These are the real issues of the case, and the sooner we can get past the titillation of it and see those issues, the better."

However, an email sent by the lecturer and subsequently released to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a free speech advocacy group after a Freedom of Information Act request was sent to the university due to Corlett's bid for help, suggests may have been other motives. Some of the documented emails suggest other factors that may have contributed to the student's suspension, and the journal entry was merely the catalyst.

The lecturer wrote in one email:

"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.

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."

After the lecturer reportedly said she felt 'unsafe', and after writing a separate email stating 'Mr. Corlett goes, or I go', the student was held under scrutiny as the assignment drew criticism from university staff. A month later, Corlett was charged with 'unlawful individual activities' based on the journal entry alone. This has advanced to an appeal.

If he wishes to enroll in 2013 courses, according to the university, he must show 'evidence of counselling [..] to work on sensitivity issues'.

"Oakland University is treating Corlett like a student with a mental disability who needs counseling for insensitivity," said FIRE Vice President of Programs Adam Kissel. "I can hardly imagine what kind of counseling Oakland would have required for Quentin Tarantino, Vladimir Nabokov, or Stephen King."

Corlett is currently barred from campus but remains enrolled in online classes in ethics and religion until the the outcome of his appeal is settled. The student is allowed to finish his online classes, but will be arrested for trespassing if he sets foot on campus.

If the student truly makes those on campus feel 'unsafe' and Corlett can be arrested for criminal trespassing -- therefore implying he may be a threat to safety -- why does the university still maintain a connection by allowing his enrollment in two online classes?

Online tuition is often used to expand accessibility to educational resources and courses. However, in this case arguably it could be seen as a means to ensure continued revenue provided by a student that an academic institution may not want on campus grounds.

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10 comments
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  • RE: 'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

    Ted Nugent should apply at that school. They would really be having fits. They basically tossed him out because he doesn't follow their liberal beliefs that guns are bad and expressed himself. They then used his writting assignment as an excuse for his removal.
    Test Subject
    • RE: 'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

      @Test Subject

      So, your all for people carrying concealed weapons at university? Wow!
      A Grain of Salt
  • RE: 'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

    That is insane! After reviewing the FIRE article and the links contained therein I find myself in full agreement with Test Subject in that Mr. Corlett was thrown out due to his beliefs in the second amendment and sought permission to conceal carry a firearm on campus and his creative writing assignments were the catalyst despite them being protected speech.

    I hope he wins his case, Oakland University is punished, and Mr. Corbett finds a university environment more suited to his beliefs.
    athynz
    • RE: 'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

      http://wednice.ru/
      http://wednice.ru/
  • RE: 'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

    Can't blame her... I'd be freaked out if a 56-year old creeper was lusting after me.
    PB_z
  • RE: 'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

    I do have to wonder why anyone who has publicly stated that he wants to be permitted to carry a concealed weapon on campus and is also emphatically Hot for Teacher on the same campus would not expect to be barred. He sounds like a pretty creepy person to me, and if I were a student on that campus, I would be seriously concerned about my safety. I did some more research about this guy, and from what I found, I would not want to know him or be around him, and I'm a guy.
    thetwonkey
    • RE: 'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

      @thetwonkey

      I think the information in this article or on FIRE probably isn't enough to pass judgment, either way. Who know what types of conversations, comments, looks, etc. took place that aren't represented here.

      That being said, this guy seems a little off. Anyone with a little intelligence and couth has to realize that writing this stuff, especially as a 56 year old guy, is probably going to result in some uneasiness on the part of the instructor. That's not to discriminate against his age, but this (at least what I read) would be a little different coming from a 20 year old frat boy trying a get a rise. That may not be fair, but it's reality. Talk to your female coworkers if you work in a reasonably sized business. Most likely there's some guy who gazes a little too long and/or makes slightly inappropriate comments and as result gives all the women the creeps. This sounds like Oakland U's version.

      Whether or not he broke the rules there, I'll let them figure out.
      TroyMcClure
    • RE: 'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

      @thetwonkey Afraid of the Second Amendment, eh? Hmmmm....
      roncemer
      • RE: 'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

        @roncemer

        Based upon my experience working in higher ed, you generally don't want students armed. This isn't fear of a Columbine type deal, nor is it an indication of my views on the 2nd amendment. It's belief in the theory "never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."
        TroyMcClure
  • RE: 'Hot for Teacher' lands student in hot water

    This is sexual harrasment, there has been people fired/banned/suspended for alot less than this.
    Frenz9