Circling the wagons with a vengeance at Marquette University

In an American Thinker article last month, I drew attention to a philosophy instructor at Marquette University who had imposed a moratorium on class discussion of issues such as same-sex marriage, gun rights, and capital punishment on grounds that “we all agree on this.”  When a student objected that he had a right to express dissenting views on the first of these issues, the instructor told him, “If you don’t like it, you are more than free to drop this class.”  I urged the philosophy department head, Dr. Nancy Snow, to dismiss the instructor for unprofessional behavior and later sent her a link to the article by e-mail.

Reading the headlines Thursday morning, I learned that Marquette University had indeed taken disciplinary action – no, not against the dictatorial philosophy instructor, Cheryl Abbate, but rather, against a tenured political science professor, Dr. John McAdams, for defending the student who objected to Abbate’s classroom prohibition. In his university blog, McAdams had written, “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.”

Earlier this week, the university informed McAdams that he was under investigation, suspended, and banned from campus.  In a letter, Marquette University Dean Richard Holz wrote: “You are relieved of all teaching duties and all other faculty activities. You are to remain off campus during this time.”

There was no explanation as to why McAdams was under investigation or why he was suspended, but the professor thinks Abbate accused him of harassment because of his blog post.  This appeared to be confirmed by a statement the university released to the media:

As stated in our harassment policy, the university will not tolerate personal attacks or harassment of or by students, faculty and staff. To be clear, we will take action to address those concerns. We deplore hatred and abuse directed at a member of our community in any format.

It seems not to have occurred to Dean Holz that these are also grounds for suspending Abbate and relieving her of her teaching duties.  It could just as easily be argued that forbidding class discussion on a controversial topic is abuse of authority as well as utterly inappropriate in a philosophy course, that labeling a student “homophobic” for wishing to assert dissenting views on same-sex marriage is a personal attack and a form of harassment, and that Abbate may well have been motivated by hatred of conservative views.  Evidently, liberals are exempt from any such charges, in academia and elsewhere.  

Global warming advocates have been telling us for years that their views are backed by “settled science,” all in an effort to stifle debate.  It hasn’t quite worked.  What we have at Marquette is an instance of a new and even more absurd concept, “settled philosophy,” to be used as cover for views that liberals want excluded from any form of critical scrutiny.  If this sounds a lot like what in the old days of communism used to be called “toeing the party line,” it’s because it is.

Universities in this country are becoming less and less institutions of higher learning and more and more little “people’s republics” ruled with an iron fist by left or hard-left academics ready to pounce at the first sign of dissent – where teaching, at least in the humanities, has been replaced by “progressive” indoctrination.  How to undo the harm done is no simple matter.  The GOP will make a good start next year by imposing drastic cuts on the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In an American Thinker article last month, I drew attention to a philosophy instructor at Marquette University who had imposed a moratorium on class discussion of issues such as same-sex marriage, gun rights, and capital punishment on grounds that “we all agree on this.”  When a student objected that he had a right to express dissenting views on the first of these issues, the instructor told him, “If you don’t like it, you are more than free to drop this class.”  I urged the philosophy department head, Dr. Nancy Snow, to dismiss the instructor for unprofessional behavior and later sent her a link to the article by e-mail.

Reading the headlines Thursday morning, I learned that Marquette University had indeed taken disciplinary action – no, not against the dictatorial philosophy instructor, Cheryl Abbate, but rather, against a tenured political science professor, Dr. John McAdams, for defending the student who objected to Abbate’s classroom prohibition. In his university blog, McAdams had written, “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.”

Earlier this week, the university informed McAdams that he was under investigation, suspended, and banned from campus.  In a letter, Marquette University Dean Richard Holz wrote: “You are relieved of all teaching duties and all other faculty activities. You are to remain off campus during this time.”

There was no explanation as to why McAdams was under investigation or why he was suspended, but the professor thinks Abbate accused him of harassment because of his blog post.  This appeared to be confirmed by a statement the university released to the media:

As stated in our harassment policy, the university will not tolerate personal attacks or harassment of or by students, faculty and staff. To be clear, we will take action to address those concerns. We deplore hatred and abuse directed at a member of our community in any format.

It seems not to have occurred to Dean Holz that these are also grounds for suspending Abbate and relieving her of her teaching duties.  It could just as easily be argued that forbidding class discussion on a controversial topic is abuse of authority as well as utterly inappropriate in a philosophy course, that labeling a student “homophobic” for wishing to assert dissenting views on same-sex marriage is a personal attack and a form of harassment, and that Abbate may well have been motivated by hatred of conservative views.  Evidently, liberals are exempt from any such charges, in academia and elsewhere.  

Global warming advocates have been telling us for years that their views are backed by “settled science,” all in an effort to stifle debate.  It hasn’t quite worked.  What we have at Marquette is an instance of a new and even more absurd concept, “settled philosophy,” to be used as cover for views that liberals want excluded from any form of critical scrutiny.  If this sounds a lot like what in the old days of communism used to be called “toeing the party line,” it’s because it is.

Universities in this country are becoming less and less institutions of higher learning and more and more little “people’s republics” ruled with an iron fist by left or hard-left academics ready to pounce at the first sign of dissent – where teaching, at least in the humanities, has been replaced by “progressive” indoctrination.  How to undo the harm done is no simple matter.  The GOP will make a good start next year by imposing drastic cuts on the Department of Education and the National Endowment for the Humanities.