Joshua Zale, an Oak Lawn resident, and one time Moraine Valley Community College has sued the community college after he claims the school violated his first amendment rights of free speech during a class project.
Zale was involved in a classroom “improv” exercise in which the professor instructed the acting students to pretend to be a pimp while trying to collect money from a prostitute. During that academic exercise, Zale allegedly used a word that the professor deemed as unacceptable while acting as a fake pimp.
Zale was told during a meeting with the college staff that the word caused a “disruption”. Zale was then reportedly penalized and ordered to write an essay.
Instead Joshua Zale, filed a lawsuit against Moraine Valley Community College in Cook County Circuit Court last month, alleging his free-speech rights have been violated. Zale, in his lawsuit, requests that he be allowed to register for classes and that he be awarded monetary damages.
Zale’s lawsuit claims the actor/student “is being penalized by defendants for the statements he made during an acting exercise in a course … and for his conduct in questioning the reasons for which he was being told his actions were inappropriate.”
Unfortunately, the Court records fail to state what word was used by Zale during his improv performance, and doesn’t hint at what word could be objectionable in a skit about prostitutes and pimps. However, Zale alleged in his lawsuit that an assistant dean accused him of “mistreating her as a woman” under Title IX. Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. It is often used against colleges and universities, which may violate the rights of females in favor of males in areas of sport, extracurricular activities and other school related matters.
The school did notify Zale of a disciplinary hearing for allegedly disrupting the meeting with the Dean but Zale did not attend the hearing. The school then ordered him to write an essay about the school’s five core values applying each to the student’s interactions with the staff members involved.
Zale claimed in his lawsuit that he refused to write the essay “because that sanction was imposed in violation of his right to procedural due process of law.”
Moraine Valley Community College has been served with the lawsuit and has not yet filed an answer. The case has been set for case management before Circuit Court Judge Celia G. Gamrath, in Courtroom 2508 of the Daley Center at 9:45 am on December 12th.