In the case of Joseph Corlett vs. Oakland University, a judge has finally ruled: no, telling your college professor in writing that she is "stacked" and gives you a boner is not speech legally protected by the First Amendment.
Inside Higher Ed reports on the case of Corlett, a 50-something student at Oakland University in Michigan, made the comments in his journal (the full journal is posted here), as part of an English class assignment (in which students were "encouraged to be creative and write about whatever they wanted"). The thing, though, is that Corlett decided to write about, among other things, his English teacher, and how sexxxy he found her, and her "stacked" body, and her "sexy little mole on her upper lip."
The teacher took exception to this. Corlett was suspended from the school. He took the school to court, claiming his First Amendment rights had been infringed. Yesterday, a judge sided with the school:
"Plaintiff’s expressions of lust for [his instructor] or descriptions of her physical appearance are not entitled to First Amendment protection," Judge Duggan said, citing a federal appeals court ruling that "self-expression is not to be equated to the expression of ideas or opinions and thus to participation in the intellectual marketplace."
Now: before all you PERVERTS start making easy jokes about this, please take the time to look through Corlett's journal. I mean, sure, if it were a dating proposal, it might be construed as somewhat unwelcome, but I would argue that he did, at least, write in the spirit of free self-expression, and not with the primary intent to harass his teacher. Yes, he may have gotten some vicarious thrill from all of this, but he was not just spouting off pornography; he was musing about this and that, and about what was on his mind, and what was on his mind happened to be how he would like to fuck his professor. Polite social conversation? No, but this was an assignment in which creative expression was encouraged. Ask and ye shall receive, academia. Be careful what you ask for.
I'm not saying I'd want the dude dating my mom, I'm just saying this case does seem to have legitimate First Amendment connotations, and it would be interesting to hear actual legal experts weigh in on the implications of this ruling. And, you know, all you people who also feel compelled to comment about how hot your teacher was, too. You're very interesting as well, yes.