Thursday, July 16, 2009

'Ask God What Your Grade Is' ... Judge Rules in Favor of LACC Student Defending Traditional Marriage

From the Los Angeles Examiner, "Judge Rules in Favor of LACC Student Defending Traditional Marriage":

A California court has ruled in favor of a Los Angeles Community College student who said he was called a "fascist bastard" by his teacher for defending traditional marriage.

The court also ordered LACC to strike from its website a sexual harassment policy that censors speech deemed "offensive" to homosexual people.

Saying it violates students' free speech rights, a federal judge has barred the Los Angeles Community College District from enforcing a sexual harassment policy that bans "offensive" remarks in and out of the classroom, the Los Angeles Times reports.

U.S. District Judge George H. King granted a preliminary injunction against pressing the policy at the request of Jonathan Lopez, an L.A. City College student who in February filed a suit accusing a professor of censoring his classroom speech about his religious beliefs, including opposition to gay marriage.

Lopez said his professor called him a “fascist bastard” and refused to let him finish his speech against same-sex marriage during a public speaking class last November, weeks after California voters approved the ban on such unions.

When Lopez tried to find out his mark for the speech, the professor, John Matteson, allegedly told him to “ask God what your grade is,” the suit says.

Lopez also said the teacher threatened to have him expelled when he complained to higher-ups.

The district disciplined the professor, John Matteson, and Lopez received an A in the course. His suit sought financial damages and a ban on enforcing the sexual harassment code, according to the LA Times.

King said the policy's use of "subjective" terms such as "hostile" and "offensive" discouraged students from exercising their 1st Amendment rights.

See also, Los Angeles Examiner, "Student Wins Court Ruling After Being Slandered for His Spiritual Morals: Ask God Your Grade."

This is great news.

My question is how come this story's not plastered across newpapers nationwide? Not a toughie. Obviously, Judge King's decision violates the left's "gay marriage is inevitable" meme, and the liberal media-commissars wouldn't want to deviate from the program. Seriously. A Google search right now turns up paltry results (look
here, here, and here).

It's fascinating, really, since a look over at
Volokh Conspiracy pulls the mask off of the "rights" program of the radical left. Judge King has enjoined the LACC district's policy on sexual harrassment, and check out the language highlighted by the court:
It is important to be aware that sexual remarks or physical conduct of a sexual nature may be offensive or can make some people uncomfortable even if you wouldn’t feel the same way yourself. It is therefore sometimes difficult to know what type of behavior is sexual harassment. However the defining characteristic of sexual harassment is that it is unwanted and pervasive. It’s important to clearly let an offender know that certain actions are unwelcome. The four most common types of sexual harassment are:

1. Sexual Harassment based on your gender: This is generalized sexist statements, actions and behavior that convey insulting, intrusive or degrading attitudes/comments about women or men. Examples include insulting remarks; intrusive comments about physical appearance; offensive written material such as graffiti, calendars, cartoons, emails; obscene gestures or sounds; sexual slurs, obscene jokes, humor about sex ...
I like the part that says "the defining characteristic of sexual harassment is that it is unwanted and pervasive."

Man, that's broad. Who's to say what's "unwanted," much less "pervasive." On that standard, my class lectures include a lot of "unwanted" comments that would be deemed as "harrassment" by the left's gay marriage ayatollahs.

And get this, from an update at Volokh, "
A Footnote You Wouldn't Want to See in a Court Opinion":
This case is likewise not mooted by Defendants’ recent revelation that the Policy was supposedly repealed in 2007.[2] First, the Policy continues to appear on the District’s and LACC’s websites.... Thus, Plaintiff, and other students and employees, can reasonably believe they are subject to the Policy and experience a chilling effect.

[2] We are chagrined that defense counsel and Defendants’ representative who were present at the oral argument on June 10, 2009 were apparently ignorant of the status of a policy they purported to defend. This lack of preparedness is viewed with great disfavor.
It's important to remember that the First Amendment is central to the debate over same-sex marriage. After Californians passed Proposition 8 last November, the gay radical lobby launched its infamous outing and shaming campaign to intimidate and silence those who exercised their First Amendment rights to contribute to the intitiative measure (see, "Outing Liberal Blogger – Bad; Outing Prop 8 Donors – Good"). In the immediate aftermath of the election, Diana West described the chill in California as "soul-grinding" and akin to "something out of Soviet show trial history."

There's no word on the District Court's ruling at some of the big gay radical blogs, for example,
Joe. My. God., Pam's House Blend, or Towleroad. The ever-so-prodigious Andrew Sullivan is on vacation from The Daily Dish, but hot-shot stand-in Conor Friedersdorf missed this story as well.

Pretty interesting, you think? Recall that these folks are quick to shout down "unwanted" speech they deem offensive (see, "
Pam Spaulding Falsely Accuses Christians of Inciting Violence — But What About Her Own Behavior?").

No comment on the Volokh post at
Memeorandum either.

It's a big news week, but not that big. The Sotomayor hearings are winding down, the administration's trying to keep the health reform story alive in the press, and folks have pretty much forgotten about authoritarianism in Iran. One might think even the Los Angeles Times would run a piece on the story, but
I'm not holding my breath.

(Now, if the court would have upheld the
LACC District's policy, THAT would have been big news!)

For additional background, see Eugene Volokh, "
Professor in Speech Class Refuses to Grade Student's Presentation."


UPDATE: Patriot Room links! See, "Court Rules 'Ask God What Your Grade is' Prof Violated Student's 1st Amendment Rights."


Dave said...

Kudos to U.S. District Judge George H. King for putting a dent, even if a minor one, into the speech fascism that has been so rampant in our nation's colleges and universities.

Nice to see that at least one jurist recognizes there is no constitutional protection againt being offfffffffended.


Anonymous said...

Why hasn't someone taken a swing at this professor John Matteson? In my book, his fascism warrants the use of force--say, kicking his head in.