Taught to the tune of a hick’ry stick….”

Don’t sing that old schoolyard jingle around Le Moyne College in New York.

The college has expelled a student from its master’s program in education for writing a paper recommending strict discipline, including corporal punishment when necessary, as the most effective way to create a classroom atmosphere conducive to serious learning. The chair of the department, Cathy Leogrande, using her best ed-school-ese jargon, informed the student, Scott McConnell, that there was a “mismatch” between his “personal beliefs regarding teaching and learning and the Le Moyne College program goals.”

Never mind that McConnell received an A- on the paper, written for a class this past fall in which he received an overall grade of A, reports the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). McConnell was also running a 3.78 average when he was dismissed. Poor McConnell didn’t anticipate that his professor would turn the paper over to Leogrande, who went on the warpath.

So much for academic freedom, huh? That’s also the view of FIRE, which has taken up McConnell’s case. In a letter dripping with the irony that Le Moyne’s own written standards are supposed to protect students’freedom of expression and punish severely those who interfere with it, FIRE reminded Le Moyne’s president, Charles Beirne, that punishing  McConnell for his personal beliefs violated college policy.

Le Moyne’s response was a snarky letter informing FIRE that’the College does not believe it is appropriate to enter a public debate with your organization concerning the College’s admission decision concerning any particular student.’

Naturally I’m waiting for those paladins of academic freedom who are rallying around Ward “Little Eichmanns” Churchill to come to McConnell’s defense as well. But I’m not holding my breath.’You can access pdf versions of all the correspondence concerning McConnell, including his dismissal letter, here. (Thanks, Erin O’Connor of Critical Mass for the hat tip.)