Le Moyne College: Dismissal of Student for Dissenting Views

Category: Freedom of Conscience
Schools: Le Moyne College

Graduate student Scott McConnell handed in an assignment in which he described his ideal classroom — environment which involved “strong discipline and hard work” and which included “corporal punishment.” Though he did well on the assignment, he was summarily dismissed two months later by the Education Department chair, despite his “excellent” evaluation for class work. She cited a “mismatch between [his] personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning and the Le Moyne College program goals.” FIRE wrote to the Le Moyne College president, urging him to honor the College’s commitments to academic freedom and due process. When Le Moyne declined to do so, FIRE went public with the case. McConnell filed suit, aided by the Center for Individual rights, and the case eventually went to the Supreme Court of New York’s Appellate Division, which found in favor of the student. Since McConnell fulfilled the standards laid out for him, the court said, McConnell was a fully matriculated student and Le Moyne was therefore wrong to dismiss him without due process.