Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Letters to the Editor

A roundup of e-mailed letters sent to us recently.

Greetings Dr. McAdams:

Regarding: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/marquette-professor-raises-concerns-over-universitys-version-of-social-just

It is a sad irony that a university educator makes the news because he promotes critical, independent thinking in students. It has become obvious that over the last few decades that most educators are more concerned with indoctrination than the pursuit of truth. The average academic has neither the wit to see the truth nor the courage to speak to the truth if they do. American academics’ worship more sacred cows than the Hindus in India, if you’ll pardon a little hyperbole.

I’m heartened that some of you still have the courage to speak-up.

Steve Graves, O.P.

Professor McAdams:

Love the blog title.  Have long simply refused to call the Marquette teams anything else but the Warriors, PC be damned.    On the other hand, have you heard the following argument about the term “Redskins?”  All the other team names; Indians, Seminoles, Chiefs, etc., are terms that American Indians called themselves. Unfortunately, they NEVER called themselves “Redskins.”   I was stopped in my tracks when I saw that one.  I wonder what you think.

I did very much enjoy your essay about the philosophy class that is no longer permitted to make arguments contrary to gay marriage.  I work in the [redacted] at a small college in [redacted], and walk lightly around those issues as many of my academic co-workers are gay.  If they decided to create a problem for someone they are well aware that  they have the power to destroy careers.

Out of self-preservation, I’ve taken to turning my back and leaving when the term “bigot” or “[X]phobe” rears its head in an argument.  In my view, that exact moment is the moment that the argument is over. 

It has long seemed to me that the term “bigot” refers to someone who is irrationally convinced of the superiority of their worldview.  The term “...phobe” as in “homophobe” or “islamophobe” refers to someone who suffers from an irrational fear.  In both cases, what appears to the shallow academic liberal as a “trump card” is instead the lowest of ad hominem, and a blatant accusation of innate irrationality.  Not very polite, but the stupid liberals are shocked when I react as if I were insulted.  From where I stand, there is simply no rational reason to continue arguing with someone who is supposedly incapable of rational thought. Thus, having been accused of that condition, I simply leave.  The moment that someone calls me mentally ill (or implies it) in an argument is the moment that argument has ended.

[Name Withheld]

Dear Professor McAdams,

I write to respectfully urge you to publicly condemn the reported incidents of hate mail and harassment received by Cheryl Abbate, as a result of spiraling reports about her Ethics class. As a Marquette alumnus, I believe that it is possible (and necessary) to address pedagogical issues without abandoning the University’s mission.

Regardless of our views on this issue, I am compelled to ask: what benefits or outcome do you foresee from your silence about the treatment Ms. Abbate has received on student ratings websites and from National news outlets? I believe that if you remain silent on this issue, people will conclude that you support incidents of harassment and hate mail directed to a Marquette Instructor. I also believe that you can publicly support Ms. Abbate in this regard, without abandoning your own personal political views.

Please publicly condemn harassment and hate mail in this matter.

Nicholas Zettel
Marquette University Arts and Sciences, ‘06 & ‘08

[Editor’s Note: There is no need for us to condemn anything, since it goes without saying that people who write abusive e-mails are jerks and idiots.  Should you condemn all the abusive e-mails we have received?  We won’t ask you to do that, since we don’t think you have ever condoned them.

You should note that her ratings on student ratings websites have nothing to do with our reporting, and her treatment on national news outlets has consisted of reporting and fair commentary.]

Hi Professor McAdams,

I was just reading your blog post about the Theory of Ethics Class, and what you are saying does not surprise me at all.  

I graduated from Marquette 15 years ago, and I was also intimidated by another professor in the same class, and had to drop it.  I wrote a paper for the class about a pro-abortion article, refuting it, because I am pro-life.  

Well, my professor gave me a D on the paper and told me my opinion was wrong.  I don’t even remember his name anymore, but this was already going on nearly 20 years ago.

I also had a problem with a history professor who forced us to read a short story in which abortion was praised as birth control by three generations of a family.  

I refused to read it. 

And when I wouldn’t discuss it in small group discussion, my professor wasn’t happy with me that I hadn’t read more than the first few pages.

If you discuss my response, please do not use my name.

 [Name Withheld]

[Editor’s Note:  While we don’t particularly like students simply refusing to read and discuss things, if this student feared that any dissenting opinions expressed in a discussion would hurt her grade, we can understand.]

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