'Hot for Teacher' Lawsuit: Student Sues University for $2 Million; Suspended for Van Halen-titled Essay about Attraction to Teachers

By Lauren Cortez, MStars News | Mar 16, 2013 05:42 PM EDT
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David Lee Roth (L) of Van Halen performs at Tiger Jam XI in Las Vegas April 19, 2008. Tiger Jam, an AT&T sponsored event, is a fundraiser for the Tiger Woods Foundation which funds a variety of youth
(Photo : REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni) David Lee Roth (L) of Van Halen performs at Tiger Jam XI in Las Vegas April 19, 2008. Tiger Jam, an AT&T sponsored event, is a fundraiser for the Tiger Woods Foundation which funds a variety of youth programs.

The "Van Halen" band members aren't the only ones who like to speak freely about being "hot for teacher."

According to an AOL News video report on March 16, a student was suspended from college for writing an essay about his attraction to his teachers at Oakland University in Detroit. He is now suing the school over the free speech and freedom of expression violations. Joseph Corlett, 57, is seeking over $2 million from the college for allegedly violating his civil rights, based on the Friday court filing.

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Corlett brought the First Amendment law suit against the university for suspending him for three semesters because of his "bad" journal assignment written in September 2011. His "Hot for Teacher" essay, apparently inspired by a Van Halen song bearing the same name, described how the man was drawn to an instructor, who resembled Meg Ryan, reports the Examiner.

Corlett says he was unfairly kicked out of school after penning the essay while enrolled in English 380: Advanced Critical Writing, taught by Pamela Mitzelfeld. He says the essay was a "whimsical exaggeration" of his attraction toward Mitzelfeld. He wrote the essay after his teacher assured him no topics were restricted in the free-writing assignment and that she wanted "the raw stuff," according to the lawsuit.

He filed the lawsuit Friday in U.S. District Court in Detroit against Oakland University's Board of Trustees, President Gary Russi and Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Mary Beth Snyder, states Clarion Ledger.

"In the end, he just ended up getting suspended from school for completing a homework assignment," his lawyer Alari Adams claims.

"Previous essays he had submitted to her were sexually themed," Adams said. "And in his previous essays, she had given him A's, so he didn't think him writing about his attraction to her warranted him being suspended from school."

Apparently this particular sexual essay proved to be a little too "raw" for Mitzelfeld as it resulted in the student's removal from the classroom by police a few days after he submitted the composition book, states Clarion Ledger.

The school ordered him to appear in front of the University Conduct Committee in January 2012 and found that his essay constituted "intimidating behavior."Corlett says the school further violated his rights by not allowing him to present any evidence at the hearing and didn't record the proceedings as required by school guidelines. After the hearing, the university banned him from campus for more than a year, forbidding him from taking classes until the winter 2013 semester -- and only if he showed proof that he had gone through sensitivity counseling, according to an Oakland University letter dated Jan. 20, 2012, submitted with the lawsuit.

Who will prevail in this "Hot for Teacher" lawsuit? Let's take a look back at the Van Halen video that inspired the essay title:

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