AUBURN HILLS (WWJ/AP) - A former Oakland University student who was suspended for writing about his attraction for a teacher is trying to keep his lawsuit alive.
Joseph Corlett filed a $2 million lawsuit claiming his First Amendment rights were violated by university officials when he was suspended in 2012.
At issue was an essay Corlett wrote about his writing instructor titled “Hot For Teacher,” named after a song by Van Halen. The 57-year-old student compared the instructor to the sexy starlet Ginger from the 1960s TV series, “Gilligan’s Island,” and said he was distracted by her beauty.
The school suspended Corlett for three semesters, saying he violated a policy against intimidating people on campus. And in July, a Detroit federal judge ruled in favor of the school and dismissed the lawsuit, agreeing that Corlett’s work isn’t protected by the First Amendment.
Corlett’s lawyer recently filed a notice of appeal.
Corlett, who now lives in Sarasota, Fla., says he was told that no topic was off-limits. However, the university says the work was clearly inappropriate.
The essay was part of an assignment on diary-style composition for an advanced critical writing class.
Corlett wrote: “My first battle with the hot for teacher thing, aside from second grade, was fought in Composition I at Oakland Community College. She was blonde and attractive in the Meg Ryan kind of way which I usually don’t go for… I shouldn’t have taken her for Comp 2 but I couldn’t resist smart and pretty… Her skirt came unzipped in Comp 2 one day and her polka-dotted panties were exposed. I was a perfect gentleman and discretely told her to pull her sweater over. She smiled and thanked me. It is our delicious little secret.”
Corlett then made the Ginger reference.
“Holy s*** I should drop right now, there is no way I’ll concentrate in class especially with that sexy little mole on her upper lip beckoning with every accented word. And that smile,” Corlett’s essay read.
The essay goes on to describe another teacher who is “tall, blonde and stacked” in a “skirt, heels, fingernails, smile,” that is “smart and articulate.” He basically said, in the essay he turned in to her, that her looks were distracting.
In a continuation of the essay, Corlett describes two of his other female teachers, saying: “I’m not a maniac for every female although I try to find something attractive about everyone… However, my history professor sets off my gaydar and [teacher] does not. I could not have sex with either of these women even if you offered me a million dollars cash. I couldn’t get the necessary cooperation, if you get my drift.”
In other journal entries, Corlett described sleeping in the nude with his gun and making a fellow female student uncomfortable when he looked up her number and called her home.
“I’ve had a few worries lately, the first that Lynn Anne, my wife, would read this. But now I don’t care. I suppose my fear is a good sign that I’m writing honestly,” Corlett wrote.
Corlett calls the writings “whimsical exaggeration.”
“It’s highly complimentary,” Corlett said of the essays after his suspension. “The very essence of what I’m saying is that I’m inspired by her relentless teaching style …When you’re in that woman’s class she is on and it’s inspiring. It’s a great experience. It had nothing to do with her physical appearance whatsoever.”
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