First Amendment and Free Speech

January 31, 2006 1 min read

Graduate student Scott McConnell was recently expelled from the graduate education program at the private Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., for what the department’s dean wrote were her “grave concerns regarding the mismatch between [Mr. McConnell’s] personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning and the [program’s] goals.”

The expulsion came as a result of a paper written by Mr. McConnell in which he described his philosophy of education. His philosophy highlights discipline, nationalistic views, and a rigid instructional approach.

A New York state appeals court has ordered the Jesuit-run institution to reinstate him. Le Moyne College officials said in a statement that Mr. McConnell would be reinstated pending the outcome of an appeal to the state’s highest court.

National accreditation standards for colleges state that education students should not be judged on their personal beliefs, but only on their behavior in the classroom.

Should educators be subject to expulsion for holding certain personal beliefs? Was Mr. McConnell’s dismissal warranted?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.