Would the pervert in the class please stand up?
By Reticula on February 16, 2012
Today a colleague posted an article about a 56-year-old college student in Michigan who has been severely reprimanded by Oakland University officials. Joseph Corlett claims all he did was write in his class journal that his teacher was "tall, blonde, stacked, smart, articulate." Those five adjectives earned him a three-semester suspension. In addition he's not allowed on the campus and he has gone to a therapist. Or at least that's what he would have us believe.
Neither the teacher nor the university have commented, and they won't as long as Corlett is threatening a law suit. I've been in a position like that, where I couldn't talk about a messy situation because I was in a position of responsibility, but others could tell any lies they wanted--and I couldn't defend myself. It's amazing how blatant the lies can get when the other party can't tell the truth. So maybe I'm projecting, but even hearing just Corlett's side of the story, it sounds pretty fucking fishy. In fact I throw up the
A few points.
1. One of the benefits of my age is that I don't really worry about my students, who are mostly 18-20 years old, crushing on me. I would, in fact, be amazed if a student has ever thought of me "that way."* I'm neither a MILF nor a TILF. My students write weekly letters to me though, and they tell me all kinds of personal stuff. If one of them wrote about my boobs in a letter he knew I was going to read and especially if that student were older than I am (and this asshole is even older than I am, so I feel comfortable assuming he's older than the professor), I would feel uncomfortable standing in front of the class and teaching after I'd read that entry. Yes, even I, a teacher who has talked about masturbation in class, would feel like wearing a zipped parka to class after I read that. It's fucking creepy. My nipples are inverted just thinking about it.
I'll bet even my male colleagues would choose to teach from behind the desk if a female student wrote to one of them about his large package or wondered about the size of his dick in her journal. None of us want to think our students are sitting there staring at our boobs and filling up their wank banks.
2. Even writing about it in a journal she's going to read makes him a fucking perv. But it's also, at the very least, disingenuous for him to claim that this is the only sexually explicit thing he wrote. He admits he asked her many times if there were any restrictions on the sexual content of the journals. What student has to ask that question? My students ask if they can swear in their narrative arguments. Or if they can use contractions. Or how long the paper has to be, but they don't ask if they can talk about my boobs--lovely as my boobs are. Then again, so far none of them have been creepy perverts.
3. I wouldn't be surprised if this student had made inappropriate comments before--and many of them. And either because he lacks empathy or because he's a fucking sociopath who just likes to get negative attention, he kept doing it even though other people were obviously uncomfortable. I can imagine the teacher has been uneasy about the "sexual undertones" in his writing, and that other students were as well and complained to her about him. Anybody want to guess those undertones showed up in his spoken words too?
Fiction-writing classes attract all kinds of writers, including "that guy." That guy who wants women to read his poorly written BDSM porn and make comments on it. That guy who likes to pretend he's an "honest" writer, one who doesn't need to observe normal social boundaries because he's an artist. He's that old guy who buys a camera and tries to talk young women into posing nude for him. When I read this article, what I saw was "that fucking creeper guy." I've taken classes with him.
4. Universities bend over backwards for students. In fact, many teachers are concerned about the "student as customer" attitude some universities have assumed. No university official wants to slap a student up the side of the head like this guy was. This wasn't a failing grade and you don't get to take the class again. This was we won't even take your fucking tuition money and here's a restraining order and you must get medical attention. This was a mushroom cloud. He could have plagiarized Jesus and the university wouldn't have spanked him this hard.
There's no way we're getting all of the story from this fucking attention whore guy. I'd be willing to bet a dozen cookies the facts are even worse than I can imagine. We won't know until it goes to court or until other students come forward and start telling stories. My money is on the latter.
5. This guy's lawyer sounds like an even bigger idiot than he is. In the article he's cited as saying this student's right to free speech has been breached. What a dumbass. This guy does not have a right to write or say anything he wants in a college class and expect the Constitution to protect his perverted ass. The lawyer goes on to say this guy has a constitutional right to a college education. What the fuck? Really? Because in that case about 75% of the residents of this city need to sue ..... somebody because they don't have college degrees. Nobody has a constitutional right to attend a university. If I hadn't already decided the student might be a fucking pervert, I would know he's an asshole just by his association with his ambulance-chasing lawyer.
The story so far has old fucking creeper guy written all over it -- and he's the only one telling the story. But I'll reserve judgement until when and if the teacher and the university have a chance to tell their side. I spend a lot of time in front of a classroom. I know there's a lot more going on here than some poor, innocent college student writing in his little journal that his teacher is stacked. This guy masturbated in public and the university smacked him on the wee wee and sent him to the corner to think about it.
Then again. I could be wrong.
What do you think: pervert or wronged student?
* I will admit there was one charming fellow who looked a lot like Tom Cruise in Risky Business and knew it. When I reprimanded him for coming to class late, he offered to let me spank him. I told him I'd rather he'd put his butt in the chair before I was ready to start the class. If I'm going to spank someone, it certainly won't be a student.
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