Marquette seeks to fire Conservative Professor

Last month, Marquette informed conservative political science professor John McAdams that they were beginning the process of revoking his tenure and dismissing him from the faculty. McAdams had used his blog to publicize claims made by a student about Cheryl Abbate, a graduate student instructor at Marquette

According to the student, the instructor informed the class that society had reached a consensus in favor of gay rights, and there was no point in debating the matter further. The instructor recounted a somewhat different version of events. In her version, she told the class that gay marriage met Rawls definition of a right that could not be denied under his “equal liberty principal.”

After class, while secretly recording the conversation on his phone, the student approached Abbate to tell her that he disagreed with gay marriage and disliked the way she had dismissed the opinions of gay marriage opponents. After a short back and forth about gay adoption, the student brought the discussion back to what really bothered him, “Regardless of why I’m against gay marriage, it’s still wrong for the teacher of a class to completely discredit one person’s opinion, when there may be different opinions.”

Abbate responded by telling him that some opinions could not be tolerated in her class, such as racist or sexist opinions. In her opinions, it would be unfair to gay students to allow people to express opposition to gay marriage in her class, comparing it to allowing someone to express the view that women are unsuited for a particular occupation. She then told him that he was free to drop her class if he didn’t like the rules.

After talking to the student and listening to the recording, McAdams concluded on his blog that politically incorrect opinions were being dismissed without debate:

“But this student is rather outspoken and assertive about his beliefs. That puts him among a small minority of Marquette students. How many students, especially in politically correct departments like Philosophy, simply stifle their disagreement, or worse yet get indoctrinated into the views of the instructor, since those are the only ideas allowed, and no alternative views are aired?

Like the rest of academia, Marquette is less and less a real university. And when gay marriage cannot be discussed, certainly not a Catholic university.”

For the university, McAdams had gone too far. McAdams had publically criticized a grad-student instructor, without even bothering to hear her side of the story. According to the University, McAdams had also left out critical details, such as the students failing grade in the class being the reason for his dropping the class. Mostly, the University was unhappy that by including the instructor’s real name, he had exposed her to public criticism and even death threats.

“Instead of being a mentor to a graduate student instructor learning her craft -- including how to deal with challenging students -- you took the opportunity publicly to disparage her, in a manner that resulted in her personal safety being put at risk, and you did so without knowing key facts surrounding the events about which you wrote.”

Unsurprisingly, McAdams has retained an attorney; it’s in the hands of the lawyers now, so don’t expect to hear anything else about this case.

Last month, Marquette informed conservative political science professor John McAdams that they were beginning the process of revoking his tenure and dismissing him from the faculty. McAdams had used his blog to publicize claims made by a student about Cheryl Abbate, a graduate student instructor at Marquette

According to the student, the instructor informed the class that society had reached a consensus in favor of gay rights, and there was no point in debating the matter further. The instructor recounted a somewhat different version of events. In her version, she told the class that gay marriage met Rawls definition of a right that could not be denied under his “equal liberty principal.”

After class, while secretly recording the conversation on his phone, the student approached Abbate to tell her that he disagreed with gay marriage and disliked the way she had dismissed the opinions of gay marriage opponents. After a short back and forth about gay adoption, the student brought the discussion back to what really bothered him, “Regardless of why I’m against gay marriage, it’s still wrong for the teacher of a class to completely discredit one person’s opinion, when there may be different opinions.”

Abbate responded by telling him that some opinions could not be tolerated in her class, such as racist or sexist opinions. In her opinions, it would be unfair to gay students to allow people to express opposition to gay marriage in her class, comparing it to allowing someone to express the view that women are unsuited for a particular occupation. She then told him that he was free to drop her class if he didn’t like the rules.

After talking to the student and listening to the recording, McAdams concluded on his blog that politically incorrect opinions were being dismissed without debate:

“But this student is rather outspoken and assertive about his beliefs. That puts him among a small minority of Marquette students. How many students, especially in politically correct departments like Philosophy, simply stifle their disagreement, or worse yet get indoctrinated into the views of the instructor, since those are the only ideas allowed, and no alternative views are aired?

Like the rest of academia, Marquette is less and less a real university. And when gay marriage cannot be discussed, certainly not a Catholic university.”

For the university, McAdams had gone too far. McAdams had publically criticized a grad-student instructor, without even bothering to hear her side of the story. According to the University, McAdams had also left out critical details, such as the students failing grade in the class being the reason for his dropping the class. Mostly, the University was unhappy that by including the instructor’s real name, he had exposed her to public criticism and even death threats.

“Instead of being a mentor to a graduate student instructor learning her craft -- including how to deal with challenging students -- you took the opportunity publicly to disparage her, in a manner that resulted in her personal safety being put at risk, and you did so without knowing key facts surrounding the events about which you wrote.”

Unsurprisingly, McAdams has retained an attorney; it’s in the hands of the lawyers now, so don’t expect to hear anything else about this case.