Judge: Professor’s suspension violates First Amendment

\nMICHIGAN — A community college professor is back in the classroom\nafter a federal judge issued an injunction in September blocking\nthe school from suspending him for using crude language.

In his decision, Judge Paul D. Borman said Bonnell’s suspension\n”deprived him of his First Amendment right to free speech\nin his classroom.”

John Bonnell, who has taught at Macomb Community College for\n32 years, is suing the college for suspending him in February\nafter a female student accused him of sexual harassment for using\nlanguage that she said was “dehumanizing, degrading and sexually\nexplicit.”

Originally, Bonnell was suspended from the college for three\ndays. But after he responded by distributing copies of the student’s\nwritten complaint (without her name), along with a rebuttal discussing\nthe First Amendment implications of her complaint, Macomb officials\nsuspended Bonnell indefinitely.

College officials argued that Bonnell’s distribution of the\nstudent’s complaint violated her privacy, even though he had erased\nher name.

The Macomb Community College Board of Trustees said it would\nappeal the judge’s injunction.\n