Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Marquette’s Attempt to Fire Warrior Blogger

New from The Wisconsin Interest. There is no breaking news here, but rather excellent background and commentary on Marquette’s attempt to fire this blogger over a post that exposed a Philosophy instructor who said she would not allow arguments opposed to gay marriage in class because they would be “homophobic” and would offend any gay students in the class.

Some quotes from the article:
So McAdams finds himself at the center of what is shaping up to be one of the most unusual academic freedom cases in the country. Even in an era of rising political correctness — trigger warnings, speech codes and the battle against “micro-aggressions” — the decision to fire McAdams nearly stands alone. As far as anyone knows, no other major university has tried to fire a tenured professor for something that he wrote on a blog. “I have spoken to experts across the country,” says Richard Esenberg, president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and himself an adjunct professor of law at Marquette. “No one does this.”
Even though he had poked the bear for years, he [McAdams] admits that he did not expect the administration to take such a draconian step. “No,” he says. “Because, it’s never happened before. Usually protections of academic freedom are pretty strong.

“I mean, Holocaust deniers routinely have their academic freedom protected,” he says. “9/11 truthers routinely have their academic freedom protected. There’s a guy in Florida who believes that the Sandy Hook massacre was a government operation to gin up support for gun control. He’s been widely denounced. Fair enough. But no one has tried to take his tenure away from him.”
Marquette, however, seemed oblivious to the implications of its decision to fire a tenured professor for something he had written. In a masterpiece of academic doublespeak, Lovell issued a statement insisting that the attempt to fire McAdams had nothing to do with academic freedom:
“The decisions here have everything to do with our guiding values and expectations of conduct toward each other and nothing to do with academic freedom, freedom of speech, or same-sex marriage. ...”
And then . . .
The case also drew the attention of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. “If Marquette can fire a tenured professor for criticizing a fellow teacher on a blog, then tenure at Marquette is worthless, as are freedom of speech and academic freedom,” declared Executive Director Robert Shibley. “While this is more than likely just an excuse to get rid of McAdams, the fact that McAdams’ supposed offense was criticizing a teacher for squelching dissenting opinions in class only makes Marquette’s utter contempt for dissenters more obvious.”
McAdams has no doubt that the move is in retaliation for his past criticisms. “Sure,” he says, “it is absolutely retaliation. I think they were terribly, terribly offended at how uppity McAdams was, how insolent McAdams was and ‘How dare he criticize us?’ I think it may be it’s a little bit of arrogance that says, ‘Who the hell does McAdams think he is?’”

He also thinks the decision reflects Marquette’s parochialism, by which he means Lovell’s “failure to understand the norms that prevail in secular academia about things like academic freedom. I doubt the administration at Madison would have done this.

“In other words, I think they are unsophisticated about this. They think they can invoke something like ‘Catholic mission’ and get away with things that a state school or even a secular private school would not try to.”
By all means, read the entire article.

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Blogger Ronald Hall said...

Thanks for the update John. I am a former student of yours from the early 1990's and its disgusting to me to see what Marquette is trying to do to you. As a conservative I really enjoyed the open debates in my Political Science classes where I was usually outnumbered by the other students as well as facing opposition from many of the professors. I never felt as though I couldn't express my opinions or that they would impact my grades. I seriously doubt I would have that ability today and this fight is important in keeping those debates going. The 'science' of Politics is not settled and we should never silence the opposition no matter what the issue is in an academic environment.

11:13 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

And to think: as Catholics, we came very close to sending our daughter across the Illinois/Wisconsin border to be indoctrinated with secular leftist ideology at MU. We're so glad we took a U-turn and opted instead to have her indoctrinated with secular leftist ideology in our home state at a public institution. Much cheaper!
I enjoy you blog, John. Keep going, man.

8:42 PM  

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