Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Marquette’s Defensive, Evasive and Dishonest Attack on the Warrior Blogger

Marquette today came out with an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about our case. It’s an amazing collection of evasion, dissembling, and outright falsehood.

Let’s analyze it piece by piece (Marquette’s statement in sans serif typeface):
Dr. McAdams disagreed with the way one of our graduate students led a classroom discussion.
We “disagreed” with a teacher who told a student that he could not express opposition to gay marriage because doing so would be “homophobic,” and would “offend” any gay student in class. But Marquette implies this was merely some disagreement about pedagogical philosophy.
Instead of expressing those concerns through established internal channels, he chose to blog about our graduate student . . .
In the first place, the undergraduate student had attempted to “raise the concern” (note the euphemistic way mistreatment of a student is described) with the Arts & Sciences office, and then was referred to the Philosophy Department. There he was met with hostility, and received no redress at all.

Of course, bureaucrats would like all cases of misconduct to be quietly dealt with through “internal channels.” This is the way the Catholic Church handled the priestly sex abuse crisis.

Just how did that work out?

Keeping misconduct quiet removes the incentive for the bureaucrats to fix the problem. Further, the public has a right to know that at Marquette, a supposed “Catholic university,” this kind of abuse could happen.
— publicly shaming her,
What Lovell calls “public shaming” was simply journalism. Any reporting of misconduct could be called “public shaming.”

For example, members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma were shown on video voicing a racist chant on a bus. This was widely reported, and some of the fraternity members received death threats.

Was the media guilty of “public shaming?”

Had we, for example, written about a male professor who sexually harassed a female student, it’s inconceivable that we would be charged with “shaming” the professor.
questioning her values
Questioning the values of an instructor who said that certain opinions about marriage (and indeed the “opinions” of the Catholic Church) could not be expressed in a Marquette classroom? Absolutely!

Why does Marquette not question such “values?”
and including a link to her contact information.
Untrue. We included a link to her blog, which happened to contain her contact information (something we had not even noticed when we put up the post). The purpose of the link was obvious from the context. As we noted:
Aside from the audio, it’s easy to see how Abbate would have said what we reported. Her blog is titled “Thoughts from a Vegan Feminist Philosopher.” Some of the stuff seems quirky and bland, such as her criticism for a Catholic parish for having a pig wrestling contest.

Less benign is her essay titled “Yes All Men…Contribute to the Prevalence of Rape.” Yes, it’s a common theme among feminists and Exhibit One of the reality that hard-core feminism is, at root, about sexist antipathy toward males.
And Marquette continues:
He sought opportunities to amplify his public shaming of her on cable news and talk radio.
When we came under attack from Abbate and her allies, we defended ourself in the media. This was supposedly bad.
Through those actions, he exposed her to a constant stream of threats and hateful messages.
In fact, she received no threats, as she herself admitted.

She did receive some nasty e-mails. But nobody can report unfavorable information about anybody without the possibility of some jerks writing them and saying abusive things. This had never happened before in the ten-year history of our blog.

Again, should the media have declined to report the misconduct of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon members (see above)? A typical case in the media is when some high school teacher has sex with a student. The name of the teacher is always mentioned.
Has Dr. McAdams been fired?
No. He has been suspended without pay but with benefits through the fall semester of the 2016-17 academic year, in accordance with the Faculty Hearing Committee’s unanimous recommendation, and given a clear path that would facilitate his return to campus. Before returning to the faculty, he must provide an assurance that he will not continue behaviors that harm others within the Marquette community.
The “assurance” is a demand that the Faculty Hearing Committee did not make: that we apologize and take a loyalty oath. To be specific, Lovell demanded:
• Your acknowledgement and acceptance of the unanimous judgment of the peers who served on the Faculty Hearing Committee.
• Your affirmation and commitment that your future actions and behavior will adhere to the standards of higher education as defined in the Marquette University Faculty Handbook, Mission Statement and Guiding Values.
• Your acknowledgement that your November 9, 2014, blog post was reckless and incompatible with the mission and values of Marquette University and you express deep regret for the harm suffered by our former graduate student and instructor, Ms. Abbate.
As for “behaviors that harm others:” this apparently means any blogging that criticizes anybody at Marquette or reveals any misconduct at Marquette. In other words, the demand is that we renounce our right to academic freedom.
Is this issue about freedom of speech or academic freedom?
Where Dr. McAdams crossed the line is when he launched a personal attack against a student, subjecting her to threats and hateful messages.
Lovell is calling our reporting on misconduct by a graduate instructor a “personal attack.” By this standard, any reporting of misconduct of anybody at Marquette could be called a “personal attack.”
Was Dr. McAdams asked to apologize?

President Lovell explained in his call for decency that Dr. McAdams was asked to take responsibility for his actions and to show remorse for the consequences of his irresponsible conduct. Dr. McAdams was never asked to make a public apology, and never was asked to apologize for any opinion or political view he may hold.
Compare this with the direct quote (above) from Lovell’s letter to us. This level of spin and evasiveness is downright dishonest.
Is this an issue related to Marquette’s Catholic identity?
We have taken the position we have because of our Catholic identity and our values. This issue is about conduct and standing up for a student who was publicly shamed by a professor. U.S. Catholic magazine shared this perspective.
Interesting that they mention liberal U.S. Catholic, which is the only Catholic outlet that has sided with Marquette. Every other one that has dealt with the issue has taken Marquette to task (except for the liberal National Catholic Reporter, which ran a neutral article).

Also, secular outlets, including liberal ones like Slate, the Huffington Post and The Atlantic have criticized Marquette on this issue. So has the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. So has the conservative Wall Street Journal.
Across campus, you can find Marquette’s Catholic identity flourishing.
Right, it is flourishing when students are demeaned and shut up for wanting to argue for the Catholic view of marriage. Or when a mural in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center honors one of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted Terrorists.”

Or when Marquette sponsors a “Femsex” seminar in which participants are expected to produce a piece of erotica (read “pornography”) and have a “nonjudgmental” discussion of abortion, pornography and prostitution, and color pictures of female genitalia in the “Cunt Coloring Book.”

Or when instructors are fearful about discussing the Catholic view of marriage because they may be charged with “sexual harassment.”

Or when Marquette “likes” a tweet that demands that opposition to gay marriage be shut up on campus, as “hate speech.”

If this is flourishing, what would languishing look like?
Did Dr. McAdams criticize a fellow instructor, or a student?

The target of Dr. McAdams’ blog was a graduate student instructor. She remains a student first.
And how is she a “student first?” Because that’s convenient for Marquette. The instructor, Cheryl Abbate, was the “Instructor of Record” in the course: she made out the syllabus, she handled the lectures and class discussion, she graded the papers and assigned the grades.

Click to Enlarge

Abbate, at the time of the incident, was 27 years old and in the U.S. military. She had taught the class multiple times previously.

The real “student” was the undergraduate who was bullied because of his views on gay marriage.
The university has established channels in place for faculty members to express concerns. These standard channels of authority, which all university faculty members are expected to follow as a condition of employment as defined by the Faculty Handbook, include an associate dean, dean of the college or the provost.
The Faculty Handbook outlines “channels of authority” which can handle complaints, but there is no rule whatsoever banning the public airing of abuses at Marquette. Any such rule would be at odds with faculty contractual guarantees of academic freedom.

Again, all bureaucrats would prefer that cases of misconduct be kept quiet and internal. But journalists (and that includes faculty bloggers) have no obligation to accommodate them on this.

In fact, where the bureaucrats have failed to address the problem (as they did in this case) or where there is a systemic problem (as politically correct intolerance is at Marquette) there is actually a moral imperative to “go public.”

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1 Comments:

Blogger Mary Jarvis said...

Not that Dr. McAdams needs any help (the above post is extraordinary!), but we couldn't help but make our own comments regarding the university's claim that its Catholic identity is "flourishing": http://www.louisjolietsociety.com/dear-marquette-its-not-your-catholic-identity-thats-flourishing/

1:33 PM  

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