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First Amendment and Free Speech


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?


It's doubtful that the expulsion was appropriate, but you don't give enough details to have an informed opinion --

Was the paper a competent response to the topic or were the writer's philosophy inappropriately interjected?

Were the program's goals and philosophy clearly expressed, and was the philosophy expressed in the paper at odds with those goals?

Was the paper the only example of classroom performance that was contrary to the program's goals?


Read Scott McConnell's paper (a pdf file) which can be accessed at the following website:
http://www.cir-usa.org/cases/mcconnell_v_lemoyne.html. The program's goals and philosophy should be available at the Lemoyne website.
This gave me some perspective on the school's decision to expell.

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Recent Comments

  • Moira Laughlin: Read Scott McConnell's paper (a pdf file) which can be read more
  • Peter Crownfield / parent: It's doubtful that the expulsion was appropriate, but you don't read more




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