Lakeland Community College: Disciplining of Professor for Religious Speech

Category: Free Speech, Religious Liberty
Schools: Lakeland Community College

Lakeland Community College removed a professor of moral philosophy from his classes as punishment for refusing to hide his religious identity from students. The college threatened Dr. James Tuttle, who espouses traditional Catholic beliefs, with dismissal because he made statements on his syllabi and in class that disclosed his religious faith and how that shaped his personal philosophy. He is suing the school in response to its unconstitutional actions. Dr. Tuttle is represented by Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP, with the public campaign to defend Dr. Tuttle’s rights coordinated by FIRE, which first brought Dr. Tuttle’s case to national attention.

  • Saying He Was Punished for Revealing His Faith, Adjunct Sues Ohio College

    July 26, 2004

    An adjunct professor of philosophy at Lakeland Community College has sued the Ohio college, saying it violated his First Amendment rights when it punished him for disclosing his religious beliefs to students in class. James G. Tuttle had taught at the college, which is outside Cleveland, for four years when a student complained, in the spring of 2003, to James L. Brown, dean of the division of arts and humanities, that Mr. Tuttle had referred to his Roman Catholic faith too often. Mr. Tuttle said this month that he was then stripped of his seniority, had his course load reduced, […]

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  • Lawsuit tests religious speech in class

    July 12, 2004

    In a lawsuit that’s shining a spotlight on the role of religion in higher education, an Ohio community college philosophy professor says administrators punished him because he made a point of disclosing his Catholic beliefs in the classroom.While the college hasn’t presented its side of the story yet, it appears that the case will pit the professor’s freedom of speech against the school’s right to control its staff. There’s a larger question too, one that will be debated outside the court system: Even if it’s legal, should educators ever tell students about their faith?One national organization has already jumped into […]

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  • Professor charges anti-Catholic bias

    July 8, 2004

    By Deb McCrown at The Washington Times A college philosophy instructor says he filed a lawsuit in federal court after school administrators punished him for telling students that his personal philosophy is based on his Catholic faith. The complaint states that administrators at Lakeland Community College outside Cleveland stripped James Tuttle of his seniority, reduced his teaching load and salary, and failed to renew his contract after a student complained about Mr. Tuttle’s comments in class and disclaimer on his course syllabus, on which the teacher identifies himself as “a Catholic Christian philosopher and theologian.” Mr. Tuttle, who filed the […]

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  • Tolerance Counseling

    February 9, 2004

    A philosophy professor at Lakeland Community College near Cleveland, Ohio, has been removed from his post for not disguising his deeply held Catholic beliefs, reports the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.   FIRE says James Tuttle’s troubles began in May 2003 when a student complained to administrators that the professor mentioned his Catholic beliefs too often in class and suggested that he needed “counseling for tolerance.”   Following the complaint, Dr. Tuttle added disclaimers to the syllabi of two of his classes informing students that the professor was “a committed Catholic Christian philosopher and theologian.” He also encouraged students who […]

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  • Religion in class sparks conflict

    February 6, 2004

    A Lakeland Community College professor says his teaching duties were reduced as punishment for disclosing his religion to his students during class.James Tuttle of Willoughby, a part-time instructor for 41/2 years, claims that the college’s dean of arts and humanities gave him only one class to teach in fall 2003 instead of the three he expected. He said he was further punished when he was given the last pick of classes for this spring, leaving only logic classes which he chose not to teach. Lakeland President Morris Beverage Jr. said that Tuttle was not being punished and that religion was […]

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