Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Reaction to Marquette’s Intention to Fire Marquette Warrior Blogger Comes Quickly

Less than three hours after our post detailing how Marquette University is going to try to fire us, a post on The Academe Blog. Four key paragraphs (but read the whole thing):
Holz’s letter declares: “faculty members have voiced concerns about how they could become targets in your blog based upon items they might choose to include in a class syllabus. Your conduct thus impairs the very freedoms of teaching and expression that you vehemently purport to promote. Again, the AAUP has called upon University governing boards and administration to exercise their ‘special duty not only to set an outstanding example of tolerance, but also to challenge boldly and condemn immediately serious breaches of civility.’”

This is a complete distortion of the AAUP’s statements. Tolerance requires that a university not fire professors for their expression. Marquette is perfectly free to condemn McAdams for an alleged breach of civility, but not to punish him. And although some faculty might legitimately fear being criticized by McAdams, no one has a right to be free from criticism, or to punish McAdams for their own decision to self-censor.

Holz’s letter emphasizes one section of Marquette’s statement on academic freedom, that a professor “should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others.” The AAUP has made clear that its statement that professors “should” be accurate is moral exhortation, not an enforceable standard for punishment. Obviously, if any professor could be fired for any kind of alleged inaccuracy in any sentence, public or private, then tenure would be meaningless.

Marquette’s policy on academic freedom also declares about a professor, “When he/she speaks or writes as a citizen, he/she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline.” Marquette cannot invoke a distorted interpretation of its academic freedom policy to justify firing a professor and then ignore the clear prohibition on doing so in the same policy.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Walter-marie Miller said...

Dr. Owen Goldin is a signatory against McAdams on the dailynous blog.

He is also a member of the Faculty Hearing Committee - the faculty committee with final authority over faculty terminations.

Dr. Goldin should, under no circumstance, hear evidence in a matter in which he has already made plain his prejudice.

Email Dr. Goldin (owen.goldin@marquette.edu) asking for his resignation from the Faculty Hearing Committee.

His continuance on the committee would be a scandal.

Are students to now be Mentored in the permissiveness of Kangaroo Courts?

8:43 PM  
Blogger ilm said...

My attention was called to your plight by distinguished Marquette alumnus, the famed sportswriter, blogger, and radio personality Charlie Pierce who does not believe you should be canned, even though he finds your worldview repellant.

As a college instructor myself, I am inclined to agree with Charlie, but I have three questions.

The first is that a quick scan of your archive suggests that you have advocated in the past for the firing of members of the Marquette faculty with whom you disagree. So it would seem that you are not objecting to your own firing on grounds of professional privilege nor on first-amendment principles, but merely on the grounds that you don't think you should ever face any consequences for what you do or say, whereas people who disagree with you should be subject to the most draconian tortures any institution can devise. Would you say this is an accurate characterization of your position?

Secondly, why do you insist on referring to yourself in the plural? Have you been designated as a spokesman for a larger organization or do you merely presume to be?

Finally, Pierce takes up your cause even though doubts that you would have supported him when he lost his last job for mocking novelty senatorial candidate Christine O'Donnell. Can you name a time when you spoke out publicly in support of a person who was persecuted for stating unpopular opinions that you disagree with?

7:52 PM  
Blogger Frontiers of Faith and Science said...

Wow. Once the oppressors cross the threshold, they move pretty quickly. I hope you review all options and get very good counsel on this matter.

7:52 PM  
Blogger ilm said...

Two questions. 1.It appears from a quick scan of your blog that you have advocated for the firing of Marquette faculty and staff for taking positions you oppose. If you don't believe in professional or 1st Amendment protection for those people, on what grounds are you deserving of protection yourself, beyond the fact that you agree with you?

2.Along those lines, why do you refer to yourself in the plural. Do you represent a larger group who has authorized you to speak for it or are these folks in your head?

8:07 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

The first is that a quick scan of your archive suggests that you have advocated in the past for the firing of members of the Marquette faculty with whom you disagree.

Then you better look carefully, since I've never done any such thing.

I've even defended Marquette for protecting the academic freedom of Dan Maguire.

Dan, in turn, has returned the favor.

9:22 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

In regard to Mr. Miller's post -- I have already recused myself from the FHC.

As I told John I signed the chair's letter as I shared in the sentiment of disapprobrium, but did not sign Proveti's petition as I disagreed with its implicit call for punishment.

May I mention that in my experience, the FHC has been fair and non ideological in its decisions. It weighs each case on its merits. I expect that this case will take a long time to consider, and that the decision will be an appropriate one. The decision will be important because, although MU is not bound by its decision, it will carry a lot of weight in a court of law.

11:04 PM  
Blogger T said...

We have become Neo-Nazi Germany, where the New Gleichschaltung means any disputatious "offense" is no longer protected by the stink'n First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Time for an Obama EO to repeal the whole thing and be done with the illusion of constitutionalism entirely. It would be a far more honest and coherent result.

12:41 AM  
Blogger T said...

We have become Neo-Nazi Germany, where the New Gleichschaltung means any disputatious "offense" is no longer protected by the stink'n First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Time for an Obama EO to repeal the whole thing and be done with the illusion of constitutionalism entirely. It would be a far more honest and coherent result.

12:43 AM  
Blogger Walter-marie Miller said...

I thank Dr. Goldin for his right conduct.

I would, however, disagree with the propriety of this case taking "a long time to consider," because that assumes there is cause to issue a finding on the merits.

I would offer that the procedural improprieties of the university preclude such a finding.

The university's case certainly cannot survive its noncompliance with regards to the 307.03 process.

The committee should not decide a case on the merits that has been improperly brought before it.

4:44 AM  
Blogger Mary Jarvis said...

As the university takes "a long time to consider" its decision, is it giving any consideration to what this circus is doing/has done to Dr. McAdam's reputation in the eyes of future parents, students, colleagues, publishers etc. - many of whom are, at best, only partially aware of the details of this case? Marquette has described Dr. McAdams as a threat to students. One can draw many dark conclusions from such a charge. For an organization so proud of its "commitment to justice" this seems anything but just.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Eve bilden said...

Just read this on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website and thought it applied particularly to this case:

"There is to be no separation between one's faith and life in either public or private realms. All Catholics should act on their beliefs with a well-formed conscience based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition. They should be a community of conscience within society. By their voice and their vote, they should contribute to society's welfare and test its public life by the standards of right reason and Gospel truth. Responsible citizenship is a virtue. Participation in the political process is a moral obligation. This is particularly urgent in light of the need to defend marriage and to oppose the legalization of same-sex unions as marriages."

It should not only be the right, but the responsibility of students and professors to state their moral views. I am a Marquette grad and was a Marquette TA 20 years ago, and I wish I had had the courage to speak up like this student did. This issue is far bigger than freedom of expression, and it is high time for it to be spoken about it on a national level. Thank you to the student, and to Dr. McAdams for bringing it to light.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Kirby Olson said...

My own institution's faculty handbook allow blogging.

"INTERNET USE
SUNY Delhi is an academic institution which supports freedom of speech. The views and opinions expressed in the personal home pages of faculty and staff are strictly those of the authors. These opinions are not a reflection of campus philosophy or policy, nor are they endorsed or regulated by the institution. All comments on the contents of these personal home pages should be directed to the individual authors."

9:31 AM  

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