On Nov. 24, 2008, Los Angeles City College speech professor John Matteson interrupted and ended Jonathan Lopez’s presentation mid-speech, calling him a "fascist bastard" in front of the class for speaking about his faith, which included reading the dictionary definition of marriage and reciting two Bible verses. Instead of allowing Lopez to finish, Matteson told the other students they could leave if they were offended. When no one left, Matteson dismissed the class. Refusing to grade the assigned speech, Matteson wrote on Lopez’s evaluation, "Ask God what your grade is."
One week later, after seeing Lopez talking to the college’s dean of academic affairs, Matteson told Lopez that he would make sure he’d be expelled from school. Matteson’s treatment of Lopez during his speech follows an earlier incident in which Matteson told his entire class after the November election, "If you voted yes on Proposition 8, you are a fascist bastard."
In a letter to Alliance, Dean Allison Jones said she had met with Lopez, considered his complaint "extremely serious in nature," and had begun a disciplinary investigation. Jones said in the letter she could not elaborate because of concerns for Matteson's privacy.
Jones wrote that two students had been "deeply offended" by the speech, and one of them said that "this student should have to pay some price for preaching hate in the classroom."
The lawsuit names Matteson, the Los Angeles Community College District, its board of trustees and several administrators.
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