Sarasota man booted from school for writing 'Hot for Teacher' essay is suing
University calls lawsuit frivolous
Last Updated: 198 days ago
SARASOTA, Fla - It worked in the 80's for Van Halen, so with "Hot for Teacher" scrawled out on the top of the page in cursive, Joseph Corlett decided to use the same title for his critical writing course at Oakland University.
The assignment, he says, was to write down and record your impressions and observations.
So he did, 33 pages worth, most of them observing the professor of the course, Pamela Mitzelfeld.
"There's no way I'll concentrate in class especially with that sexy little mole on her upper lip beckoning with every accented word," Corlett wrote.
But it gets more detailed than that, some parts many would even consider profane. Corlett comments on everything from how "stacked" she is, to how she compares to Ginger from the 1960's TV show Gilligan's Island.
"Was there ever a point where you thought you might be taking it too far," ABC Action News asked.
"No. No, because I repeatedly asked for instruction and I was repeatedly told there were no topical restrictions," Corlett replied.
Corlett, 57, says after he turned in this writing assignment, the professor went straight to the dean. But in 2012, the university kicked him out by suspending him for an entire academic year. Corlett was deemed a "persona non grata" and restricted from the entire campus.
He couldn't believe it.
"This idea that the university can tell you what to think, that's how dangerous an idea this is," Corlett said. "This is much larger than me. This is about the direction that our institutions of higher education are taking and the pervasive political correctness.'
Corlett now lives in Sarasota with his wife who stands behind her husband and his writings.
"I followed the syllabus to the best of my abilities and I was thrown out for turning in my homework," said Corlett.
Claiming mental anguish and a violation of his constitutional rights, he has decided he's not giving up. Corlett has filed a federal lawsuit against the Oakland University higher-ups for more than $2 million.
However, Oakland University is countering that. Their attorney recently filed a motion to dismiss in which he refers to Corlett's lawsuit as "not just a meritless case, but a frivolous one."
"It is an ill-conceived and abusive lawsuit based on an ill-conceived and abusive communication.
Corlett had no First Amendment right to direct sexually offensive comments to his instructor as part of a writing assignment,' attorney Leonard Niehoff wrote. "Corlett's Complaint should therefore be dismissed in its entirety and without further ado. Period. End of story. End of case."
According to the Associated Press, his attorney has until Friday to file a response. Corlett's suspension requires him to undergo sensitivity counseling if he ever wants to return to Oakland as a student.
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