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Student's 'Hot for Teacher' Lawsuit Dismissed

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By Aditi Mukherji, JD on July 24, 2013 4:25 PM

The federal judge in a student's "hot for teacher" lawsuit was hot for the university, and not for the student.

U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan ruled Tuesday that Joseph Corlett, a college student suspended for writing an essay entitled "Hot for Teacher," had no First Amendment right to express his sexual attraction for his instructor. Corlett, who was 56 when he wrote the essay, filed a lawsuit against Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, over his suspension.

Duggan, however, dismissed Corlett's lawsuit and ruled in favor of the school, reports The Associated Press.

Class Assignment Goes Awry

Corlett said students in his English 380 class were told to write honestly and that no topic was off limits.

In his essay titled "Hot for Teacher," which is the name of a Van Halen song, he compared his instructor to Ginger from the 1960s TV series "Gilligan's Island" and described her as "tall, blonde, [and] stacked," among other things.

He also wrote about his sexual relationship with his wife, and composed a fake letter from the instructor -- whom he called "my Ginger" -- to himself.

Corlett's crass writing might be OK in some settings, but university officials don't have to tolerate it, the judge held.

Too Hot for the Classroom

Colleges and universities generally have less control over student free speech rights than elementary and high schools. In part, this is because college students are adults.

But even at a public university, free speech isn't an absolute right.

When Corlett referred to his teacher as "'stacked' and graphically compared her to a sitcom character he fetishized in a writing assignment, he brought a pig into the parlor," Duggan wrote in his ruling, according to the AP.

If you have no idea what Duggan was talking about: Bringing "a pig into the parlor" refers to bringing a pig, which belongs in a pig pen, into the nicest room in a house, the parlor. (You're welcome.)

Corlett's suspension required him to undergo "sensitivity counseling" if he ever wanted to take classes at Oakland University again. That seems unlikely, however, as Corlett has since relocated Florida, the AP reports.

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