At Le Moyne College, Scott McConnell was pursuing a graduate degree in education when he wrote a term paper describing the ideal classroom environment as one that would be “based upon strong discipline and hard work” and that could include “corporal punishment.” He received an A- for the paper, in keeping with his impressive academic record — he boasted a 3.78 GPA and had received an “excellent” evaluation for his classroom work. A few months later, however, he was summarily dismissed from the college by the chairman of the education department. She cited a “mismatch between [his] personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning and the Le Moyne College program goals.” Translation: His impure thoughts made him unfit to be a teacher. With the help of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the Center for Individual Rights, McConnell took his case to court and won, successfully arguing that his school had acted in bad faith: It had promised him freedom of expression and then expelled him when he expressed himself. But while Le Moyne may have lost the lawsuit, it has won top prize in the Collegiate Network’s Campus Outrage Awards for 2005 — a well deserved accolade if ever there was one.
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