Getting graded by God?

reportcardThere's a story coming out of Los Angeles about a college kid who alleges his professor treated him unfairly because of his political views. Well now. I feel like I'm an expert in this field since I went to the University of Colorado and many of my professors thought their job was to indoctrinate all students into one way of political thinking. I still remember my professor who felt the class wasn't properly appreciative of her particular form of feminism and so required us all to write an essay defending the government censorship of pornography. I wrote a really good -- but brutally satirical -- essay doing just that. The teacher publicly berated me and gave me an F.

Turned out I was lucky. Check out what happened to this kid, according to the Los Angeles Times:

Student Jonathan Lopez says 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.

At least in my case the teacher had a point. The story is focused on the complaint made by Lopez in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. It's not long but it's balanced and seeks out some perspective from independent sources and defenses of the Los Angeles City College where the incident took place.

The Associated Press also covered the story and chose slightly different details on which to focus:

In the suit filed last week in a Los Angeles federal court, student Jonathan Lopez said that midway through his speech when he recited a dictionary definition of marriage and recited a pair of bible verses, professor John Matteson cut him off, called him a "fascist bastard" and would not allow him to finish.

The suit says Matteson told students they could leave if they were offended, and when no one left he dismissed the class.

A student evaluation form included with the lawsuit lacks a score for Lopez's speech, and reads "ask God what your grade is."

All I remember is that my public speaking courses in college were mind-numbingly boring. This class at least sounds interesting.

I'm sure -- or at least I hope -- that there will be more stories about this case and the events that led to it.

The Los Angeles Times story is much better than the Associated Press one but I wonder why they didn't link to the actual court filing. There are other links in the story, and a link to the actual complaint would help readers who seek more information. The copy desk or online staff should try to remember to include such information. It adds value to the story without much additional work.

So on that note, the complaint is here. The complaint is fascinating. It includes a copy of the syllabus and details about the assignment in question. The professor had told students to give an informative speech of 6-8 minutes about any topic. He chose to talk about God and morality. The complaint includes a copy of the evaluation form of the speech. It shows where the teacher wrote "ask God what your grade is." He also wrote on the form, "prostyelsyszing (sic) is inappropriate in public school." Proselytizing may be inappropriate but that spelling is truly atrocious!

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