Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Needing Repair

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Marquette’s Lame Arguments to Wisconsin Supreme Court: Must Defer to Faculty Hearing Committee

Although we were never completely sure before the decision was announced, the implausible, tortured arguments Marquette presented to the Wisconsin Supreme Court in our legal case should have made it obvious the court would come down on our side.

Exhibit 1: Marquette’s Claim that the court should defer to the verdict of the Faculty Hearing Committee, which claimed that our blog post was grounds to suspend us without pay for one or two semesters.

Of course, the Faculty Hearing Committee did not say we should have to render a Stalinist apology for the blog post. That was entirely Michael Lovell. So Marquette was demanding that the FHC be deferred to in one issue, but contravened on another.

The Decision

The Supreme Court trashed that notion:
The University denies Dr. McAdams’ right to litigate his breach of contract claim in our courts. Instead, it says, we must defer to its procedure for suspending and dismissing tenured faculty members. It claims we may not question its decision so long as it did not abuse its discretion, infringe any constitutional rights, act in bad faith, or engage in fraud.

¶2 The University is mistaken. We may question, and we do not defer. The University’s internal dispute resolution process is not a substitute for Dr. McAdams’ right to sue in our courts. The University’s internal process may serve it well as an informal means of resolving disputes, but as a replacement for litigation in our courts, it is structurally flawed.

¶3 The undisputed facts show that the University breached its contract with Dr. McAdams when it suspended him for engaging in activity protected by the contract’s guarantee of academic freedom. Therefore, we reverse the circuit court and remand this cause with instructions to enter judgment in favor of Dr. McAdams, conduct further proceedings to determine damages (which shall include back pay), and order the University to immediately reinstate Dr. McAdams with unimpaired rank, tenure, compensation, and benefits, as required by § 307.09 of the University’s Statutes on Faculty Appointment, Promotion and Tenure (the “Faculty Statutes”).
Why did the court refuse to defer to Marquette? For several reasons.
¶25 The most obvious reason we will not defer to the University is simply that the parties never agreed that its internal Discipline Procedure would either replace or limit the adjudication of their contract dispute in our courts. They certainly could have agreed to an extra-judicial resolution of their contract dispute. This is a common feature in society today and is accomplished most often through an arbitration agreement. [...]

¶26 Our exhaustive review of the Faculty Statutes reveals no indication that the University and Dr. McAdams agreed the Discipline Procedure would supplant the courts or limit their review of a contractual dispute. Two of the Faculty Statutes acknowledge Dr. McAdams’ right to seek judicial adjudication of his claims. The first describes the right negatively by demarcating a period of time in which the parties agree not to litigate. . . .

¶27 The Faculty Statutes also contain an explicit, positively-stated recognition of Dr. McAdams’ right to litigate. . . .

This provision unambiguously recognizes that the University’s suspension and dismissal decisions are subject to litigation in our courts. It was with good reason that the University conceded, during oral arguments, that it had no express agreement with Dr. McAdams that the Discipline Procedure would preclude his right to litigate his cause here.

¶28 The University and Dr. McAdams could have agreed that the court would defer to the Report and Discipline Letter in the same way we defer to arbitration decisions. They could have done that, but they did not. They did the opposite: The University agreed it would defer to the court’s adjudication of Dr. McAdams’ right to reinstatement.

Why Defer to the Faculty Hearing Committee?

Marquette was touting the Discipline Procedure of the Faculty Hearing Committee as authoritative, but the court saw no reason to treat it that way:
¶49 As a matter of process, therefore, there is a hard break between the Discipline Procedure and the actual decision to suspend Dr. McAdams. While the dispute was in the hands of a body that had no authority to resolve it (the FHC), the case was subject to the detailed Discipline Procedure. However, once it reached the actual decision-maker (President Lovell), there were no procedures to govern the decision-making process. The Discipline Procedure does not tell President Lovell how to reach his decision, and nothing in the record before us suggests the president’s decision must have any relationship to the FHC’s work. As far as the Faculty Statutes and Faculty Handbook are concerned, the president may proceed as if the Report said nothing but that the FHC had completed the Discipline Procedure. Consequently, the efficient cause of Dr. McAdams’ suspension without pay was the Discipline Letter, and there is no evidence that it resulted from any prescribed procedure at all. It was the product of President Lovell’s exercise of unfettered discretion. Even if we were inclined to defer to the authoritative resolution of Dr. McAdams’ case (as opposed to the FHC’s Report), there is quite literally nothing to which we could apply an arbitration-style review.

The Court Liberals Speak

The two liberal justices dissented. This is not surprising, given that liberals less and less believe in free speech. Both Ann Walsh Bradley and Shirley Abrahamson sided with Marquette, invoking the “academic freedom” of the university.
¶140 The majority errs in conducting only half of the academic freedom analysis. It fails to recognize, much less analyze, the academic freedom of Marquette as a private, Catholic, Jesuit university. As a result, it dilutes a private educational institution’s autonomy to make its own academic decisions in fulfillment of its unique mission.

¶141 Further, the majority compounds this error by rendering meaningless a key component of shared governance, reducing the faculty’s bargained-for role in reviewing dismissal for cause to “nothing” or a mere “distraction.” In disregarding the faculty hearing committee’s expertise and unanimous recommendation, it throws aside a process that is mutually agreed upon and time-honored. Apparently, the majority thinks it is in a better position to address concerns of academic freedom than a group of tenured faculty members who live the doctrine every day.
This, of course, is complete nonsense. The “group of tenured faculty members” (the Faculty Hearing Committee) does not “live by academic freedom.” Most of them have nothing much controversial to say, or if they do, they express the leftist opinions approved by most of the faculty (and thus safe from faculty-centered disciplinary procedures).

Further, most faculty who participate in “shared governance” are, to put it bluntly, sycophants. Administrators have a lot of goodies to hand out to faculty (raises, promotions, grants, reduced teaching loads, administrative positions, etc.) and few faculty are inclined to get on the wrong side of the campus bureaucrats.

Marquette’s Choice

Marquette, of course, had the academic freedom to refuse to give faculty a contractual guarantee of free expression. Some schools (mostly religious ones) don’t guarantee academic freedom, and are honest about the fact that they will fire faculty they consider heretical.

But Marquette made a different choice.

The Majority Responds

The majority responded to the liberal judges as follows:
¶58 The dissent says we should nonetheless defer to the University, and that failing to do so “renders meaningless a key part of shared governance, reducing the faculty’s role in this decisionmaking to nothing.” Dissent, ¶173. The author, however, does not identify the key part of shared governance we have rendered meaningless, nor could she. The faculty’s authority to share in the University’s governance comes from the Faculty Statutes and Faculty Handbook, not some formless notion of what shared governance ought to be. We have taken these authorities as they are, and scrupulously examined their provisions. The faculty’s role is what our opinion says it is because that is the arrangement upon which the University and its faculty members have agreed. It is not our place to rewrite their management structure to give the faculty a more muscular role in the University’s affairs than they currently have. Because the dissent identified no Faculty Statute or Faculty Handbook provision that we have overlooked or misconstrued, we decline the implicit invitation to disregard what these authorities so plainly say.
Marquette’s case was so poor we are left wondering “what were they thinking?” Quite likely, when they began their jihad against us, they expected we would just take some money and walk away. But when they found that wasn’t so, why did they not back off?

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Marquette President Michael Lovell is so rigid, and so arrogant, that he was unable to cut the university’s losses. Those losses have been huge.

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Saturday, July 14, 2018

Off the Cliff!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Zach Petrizzo/Vicki McKenna on Student Expelled from Marquette

The student was expelled in due to a supposed “racist” photo that circulated among black students on campus. This in spite of the fact that the image that caused all the uproar was not racist, and fell into the hands of a black student due to the expelled student’s careless use of AirDrop on his smart phone, with no intention to do any harm to anybody.

Zach Petrizzo has been on top of the story for Campus Reform, and he discusses it with Vicki McKenna.

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

You are Stuck With It

Michael Lovell’s Fiasco: The Cost

Marquette’s defeat in the Wisconsin Supreme Court for its attempt to fire us was epic. The Court trashed Marquette’s lame arguments, one of which was that it should defer to a Faculty Hearing Committee that said we had been guilty of misconduct and should be suspended without pay for one or two semesters.

The court noted that we had not agreed in our contract to accept the judgment of a bunch of other professors as to whether we could express our opinions on our blog. Further, Marquette President Michael Lovell went beyond the Faculty Hearing Committee in punishing us, demanding a Stalinist apology. Marquette, in other words, was arguing that Faculty Hearing Committee was binding when it was convenient for the university, but not binding when it was inconvenient.

“Guiding Values”

The university claimed it could invoke its “Guiding Values” to override our black letter guarantee of free expression. The Court trashed this notion:
The University posited that educational institutions assume academic freedom is just one value that must be balanced against “other values core to their mission.” Some of those values, it says, include the obligation to "take care not to cause harm, directly or indirectly, to members of the university community,” “to respect the dignity of others and to acknowledge their right to express differing opinions,” to “safeguard[] the conditions for the community to exist,” to “ensur[e] colleagues feel free to explore undeveloped ideas,” and to carry out “the concept of cura personalis,” which involves working and caring “for all aspects of the lives of the members of the institution.” These are worthy aspirations, and they reflect well on the University. But they contain insufficiently certain standards by which a professor’s compliance may be measured. Setting the doctrine of academic freedom adrift amongst these competing values would deprive the doctrine of its instructive power; it would provide faculty members with little to no guidance on what it covers.
The Court was doubtless unimpressed with Marquette’s pious rhetoric about “values” in light of the fact that our blog post highlighted an instructor who insulted a student, telling him that his opposition to gay marriage would sound homophobic, would be offensive, and could not be expressed in her class. When he complained to authorities he was blown off, and indeed insulted.

Even if the Court had been inclined to defer to Marquette’s real values, why should they defer to hypocritical rhetoric about values?

Michael Lovell

Marquette President Michael Lovell has, quite simply, been responsible for a huge fiasco. His obtuseness in not recognizing our binding contractual right to the same free expression guaranteed in the Constitution, and his stubbornness pushing the issue all the way to the Wisconsin Supreme Court has been stunning.

The Cost

Three sources of ours intimately familiar with this case and with lawyers’ billing rates estimate the legal fees Marquette has incurred at between $750,000 and $1,000,000.

But there were further costs. The Chronicle of Higher Education quotes Lovell (paywall):
The university has forcefully pushed back against McAdams’s narrative that the key issue is academic freedom. It pressed its case in advertisements in newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal. It set up a web page, complete with a timeline and fact-vs.-myth section. It hired a public-relations firm with a storytelling team.

“In terms of our brand and public perception,” Lovell says, “we were taking a beating. We thought it was important to at least try to get the truth out about what we felt our side of the story was.”
Marquette, in fact, even bought Google ads to lead web surfers to a page that attacks us.

None of this came out of Lovell’s pocket. He has spent other people’s money. It was either endowment, or tuition, or a combination of the two. His jihad against this blogger has been expensive.

Lovell’s Motivation

There are two theories about what moves Michael Lovell. One is that he is simply a careerist bureaucrat wanting to “move up” to a more prestigious institution. The theory is that his incessant pandering to the forces of political correctness is his strategy for doing this. Thus he demonstrated in sympathy with students at the University of Missouristudents who latched onto bogus grievances and began bullying everybody else on campus.

Thus he piously claimed to “stand against racism” when black students at Marquette were in an uproar about a “racist” photo that was not, in fact, racist.

The other theory, one we are beginning to favor, is that Lovell is an actual social justice warrior. That, instead of being an opportunist, his pandering to the forces of political correctness is sincere, and his campaign to fire us was was a matter of conviction.

Unfortunately, having a president who is a sincere social justice warrior is even more toxic than having an opportunist bureaucrat. The latter might back off of a disastrous policy.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Jerry Bader: Two Important Takeaways from the McAdams Victory

Scapegoated for “Racist” Picture that Wasn’t Racist: Update

From Zachary Petrizzo of Campus Reform, who has been following the case closely, and investigating in-depth: an update on the student who was expelled from Marquette in a racial hysteria. All due to a supposed “racist” photo that was not at all racist. Some cogent points:
  • A Marquette University student was recently expelled after coming forward to explain the context of a photo that had sparked fears of racism on campus.
  • Alex Ruiz said he took responsibility for accidentally sharing the photo with a classmate in hopes of mollifying the outrage on campus by explaining that there was no racist intent.
  • Instead, Marquette subjected him to a disciplinary hearing that led to his expulsion for “discriminatory harassment,” a verdict that was upheld on appeal.
More details:
One night, according to a campus police “Incident Report” obtained by Campus Reform, Alex and friends were playing a “game” in which they would randomly scroll through their phones while the “Apple Airdrop” function was on, which allows photos to be sent to all nearby devices without specifying a recipient, resulting in the photo being unintentionally shared with a classmate.

According to the university, “sending [photos] to another person is harassment.” Ruiz and his father both told Campus Reform that they are deeply “apologetic” about what occurred, but feel that the university was not fair in its handling of the matter.
Sending photos to random people who happen to be connected to the same Wi-Fi hotspot is pretty dumb. But undergraduates do dumb things. Intentions matter. There was no intention to send the photo to a black female student, and the photo was not racist — unless you really, badly want it to be racist.
Ruiz’s father asserted that he had made “multiple attempts” to contact university officials, even calling President Michael Lovell, but said Lovell ignored “multiple requests” to speak to the family even after they flew from Colorado to Marquette to meet with school administrators.

Ruiz’s family originally immigrated to the United States three years ago from Mexico, and continues to struggle with English fluency. The father claims that the university summarily “dismissed” his outreach, and was looking to “out a student” to calm the outrage on campus.
Note that Ruiz would be a “person of color” and entitled to special treatment in other circumstances. But when it’s convenient for Marquette officials, he’s just another privileged white male.

Another Photo

In addition to the widely circulated photo of four guys pretending to be gangsta rappers, there was another photo of “an edited image of a black male’s face on a gorilla.” That certainly sounds racist. But in fact, it’s probably largely irrelevant.

In the first place, nobody seems to have the image. While the gangsta rapper image is all over Twitter, and posted with news articles on the incident, we have been unable to find the other one. It appears that all the fuss has been over the benign image, and not this second one.

Secondly, Ruiz explained this image to the campus cops:
RUIZ stated that the photos were not racially motivated other than some friends taking random pictures for fun. RUIZ stated the second photo of a gorilla with a M/B, face attached to the body of the gorilla, is a cropped photo of his high school. RUIZ identified the M/B as HS Friend. RUIZ stated the circumstances surrounding this photo was just more friends having fun and sending out funny pictures among each other via group massaging.
Given that Ruiz was a teenager, and migrated to the U.S. from Mexico only three years ago, it’s unlikely he would know how toxic the meme of associating black people with simians has been.

The campus cops, who had both photos and had talked to Ruiz, explained:
I contacted Milwaukee County District Attorney Kelly HEDGE and informed her of the incident and due to the lack of intent by RUIZ no criminal charges for harassment would be issued.

I then spoke with [the complainant] at MUPD and informed her that the investigation was wrapping up and informed that the individual that sent the photos had no intent to harass her and was not targeting her.

What Did He do Wrong?

Marquette outlined his supposed crime in a letter expelling him. It says the images he sent were “discriminatory and racist,” but doesn’t explain how.

Why not? Because any such explanation (especially when addressed to the image everybody saw) would be unconvincing, and the university is committed to the view that anything that anybody calls “racist” must actually be. Doing otherwise would be to admit that some students have a racial chip on their shoulder, and may claim racism falsely.

The letter then goes on to outline the uproar on campus that resulted when black students widely distributed the rapper image.

The clear implication is that Ruiz was punished for the reaction of black students, rather than for what he actually did.

This constitutes a kind of “heckler’s veto” where people can shut up expression merely by taking offense. Admittedly, this expression was pretty trivial, but campus leftists have used the heckler’s veto to shut up important discussions of real issues.

Perhaps some punishment was merited, simply because of the sheer recklessness of sending random photos to random people. But again, intention matters, and Ruiz had no evil intention.

Marquette Stonewalls

Lovell’s bull-headed refusal to talk to the Ruiz family was of a piece with his disastrous attempt to fire this blogger, which was slapped down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court last Friday.

We have always wondered about Lovell. Is he simply a bureaucrat pandering to the forces of political correctness on campus, such as the leftist faculty who wanted us fired? Or is he a rigid fanatic, who fully believes in his own righteousness?

This case has us leaning toward “fanatic.”

[Update]

Updated 7/13 to discuss the “second photo.”

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Monday, July 09, 2018

What Marquette Could Have Done, But Didn’t



From Margot Cleveland, writing in The Federalist: an analysis of our recent Wisconsin Supreme Court victory. Cleveland sides with us and the court, and explains:
Next, the court considered whether Marquette had “discretionary cause” to suspend McAdams. The court began by citing the relevant contractual provisions, which defined “discretionary cause” as conduct that “clearly and substantially fail to meet the standard of personal and professional excellence which generally characterizes University faculties.”

However, as the court highlighted, the faculty contract expressly stated that discretionary cause will not “be interpreted so as to impair the full and free enjoyment of legitimate personal or academic freedoms of thought, doctrine, discourse, association, advocacy, or action.” The court then methodically considered Marquette’s rationale for suspending McAdams, stressing that it was McAdams’ conduct—and not the response of third parties—that mattered, explaining:
Just because vile commentary followed the blog post does not mean the blog post instigated or invited the vileness. The University must identify which part of the blog post is supposed to have been responsible for eliciting the offensive remarks. It did not even attempt to do so. Our review of the blog post reveals that it makes no ad hominem attack on Instructor Abbate, nor does it invite readers to be uncivil to her, either explicitly or implicitly. Because the University’s logical fallacy represents the entirety of its assertion that Dr. McAdams wrote the blog post to subject Instructor Abbate to contempt, we must reject it.
But Cleveland goes on to highlight the fundamental social problems behind this whole incident:
Further, Marquette’s attempt to hold McAdams responsible for threats meted out by third parties upends academic freedom. It implies a faculty member must self-censor and limit criticism out of a fear that others will respond with threats or even violence. Yet nothing McAdams wrote reeked of an incitement to harassment or violence. The Wisconsin Supreme Court published the entire blog post and a quick read confirms the court’s view that McAdams had not invited the vile emails Abbate received.

Yet Abbate did receive emails that made her fear for her safety. I am not unsympathic to Abbate’s concerns, and few conservative journalists or politicians would be. But McAdams isn’t the problem. The problem is a society that teaches that words spoken in a classroom debate are so offensive that they must be silenced; a society that resorts to doxxing to silence speech instead of countering speech; and a society that views harassment and violence as appropriate responses to “offensive” speech.

This says nothing about McAdams, who criticized Abbate on the merits of her conduct, and everything about the decline of civility facing our country.

What Marquette Could Have Done

Cleveland goes on to highlight a grain of truth in the two leftist justices’ dissent.
Two Wisconsin Supreme Court justices dissented from the majority’s decision in favor of McAdams. The dissent merits consideration, not because of the faulty analysis of McAdams’ case, but because of the helpful discussion of academic freedom.

Many wrongly believe academic freedom rests solely with faculty members, but the dissent, authored by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley, highlights that academic freedom includes two components: academic freedom of the faculty and academic freedom of the institution. Marquette’s “institutional academic freedom is inclusive of four ‘essential freedoms’: ‘to determine for itself on academic grounds who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught, and who may be admitted to study.’“

As a Catholic, Jesuit institution, Marquette possesses the right to exercise these four “essential freedoms” consistent with its guiding values, described by the dissent as the “holistic development of students” and a “commitment to the Jesuit tradition and Catholic social teaching.” Marquette could, then, have hired only faculty members willing to instruct students consistent with the university’s professed Catholic mission, in which case it could fire faculty members who do not live up to that commitment.

But it didn’t, as is obvious from the university’s decision to employ an instructor who, in contradiction of clear church teaching, taught students that “everybody agrees” on “gay rights.” Marquette instead promised faculty members the right to individual academic freedom, without regard to the university’s Catholic character. By committing itself “not to impair the full and free enjoyment of legitimate personal or academic freedoms,” Marquette forfeited its right to rein in McAdams’ speech as purportedly contrary to the university’s mission.

In its news release, Marquette hinted that it intends to reassert its institutional right to academic freedom, explaining that “in light of today’s decision, Marquette will work with its faculty to re-examine its policies, with the goal of providing every assurance possible that this never happens again” (emphasis added). Of course, by “this,” Marquette means public criticism of an instructor. If only the Jesuit university meant assuring faculty members do not silence student speech, especially speech defending Catholic teaching against a professor’s heresy. That is something I could get behind.
Marquette claims the right to hire “for mission.” This means Marquette has the right to hire people loyal to Catholic teaching, and even to prefer practicing Catholics.

This is perfectly consistent with academic freedom if, once hired, faculty are free to write and speak as they please. In some departments, this has largely been ignored. In Political Science we have always hired on the basis of pure scholarly credentials. This blogger has been as guilty of that as anybody else in the department.

In many departments, hiring is anti-mission. Somebody who opposes abortion, or gay marriage, or who believes homosexual acts are illicit would be quickly vetoed in the job search.

If Marquette is unwilling to hire for mission (which it certainly is), it could at least demand that faculty be tolerant of arguments on different sides of an issue. But in fact, Marquette doesn’t mind politically incorrect arguments being shut up — even when those arguments support Catholic teaching.

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Sunday, July 08, 2018

You Get What You Deserve / Unfortunately

Warrior Blogger on Fox and Friends

Do Journalists Name People Guilty of Misconduct?

Marquette has loudly claimed that we should not have published the name of Cheryl Abbate, whom we reported told an undergraduate who wanted to oppose gay marriage in her class:
  • “some opinions are not appropriate, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions”
  •  “do you know if anyone in your class is homosexual?” . . . “don’t you think it would be offensive to them”
  • “you don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments.” 
  • “In this class, homophobic comments, racist comments, will not be tolerated.”
Marquette also upped the ante, claiming that we “linked to Abbate’s contact information.” That was flatly untrue.

But the claim that we should not have named Abbate is a bit odd, since journalists normally name the person on whose misconduct they are reporting.

Example: this last June 19, a Congressional intern shouted an obscenity at President Trump while he was walking through the Capitol Rotunda.

Interns are typically college students (as opposed to Abbate, who was 27 years old), and they don’t have any authority over anybody (unlike Abbate, who was Instructor of Record in her class).

But the profane intern has been identified in every story we can immediately find on the incident.

A Google News search for “Caitlin Marriott” tells the story.

Of course, somebody reading this post weeks or months in the future might not get the same Google result, so here is the Google search, as it exists right now, archived.

Marquette is attacking us for doing what journalists normally do.

The Dirty Little Secret

The dirty little secret here is that most of the people attacking us for naming Abbate simply don’t think she did anything wrong. They fully believe that opposition to gay marriage is “hate speech” and should be suppressed. They, quite simply, don’t think we should have exposed Abbate’s misconduct, because they don’t think it was misconduct.

That’s the reality of academia today.

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Friday, July 06, 2018

WILL: Academic Freedom Wins at State Supreme Court


Our client, Dr. John McAdams, gets to teach at Marquette again

July 6, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI -- Today the Supreme Court of Wisconsin delivered a clear, decisive victory for our client, Dr. John McAdams, a conservative political science professor who was indefinitely suspended by Marquette University for blogging on a controversial topic. The victory ends a nearly four year fight between the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Marquette University to have McAdams reinstated.

As we have argued since the beginning, the only thing Professor McAdams wants to do is to teach students with the academic freedom protections promised by Marquette University. And, because of today’s ruling, McAdams will be back in the classroom very soon.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court, in a decision written by Justice Dan Kelly, found that Professor McAdams’ blog post in defense of an undergraduate student - and criticizing a graduate student instructor - could not possibly have shown him to be unfit as a member of Marquette’s faculty, and Marquette’s decision to fire him violated its contractual promise to protect his academic freedom.

In addition, according to the Court, a faculty member’s expression of opinion as a citizen cannot constitute grounds for dismissal unless it clearly demonstrates the faculty member’s unfitness for his or her position. The Court rejected the notion that disciplinary decisions regarding free speech by faculty members should be made by administration or faculty. The concept of academic freedom is worthless unless it protects expression which is opposed by the institution and is unpopular with most of the faculty.

Furthermore, today’s decision from the Wisconsin Supreme Court relies on one of the simplest rules of fairness – you cannot punish somebody for violating a rule that did not exist when it was supposedly “broken.” Universities are free to create rules – even strict rules – about what their tenured professors can and cannot say publicly. What they cannot do is make up rules after the fact to punish a professor they want to get rid of.

We sincerely hope Marquette University learns from its mistakes and takes the utmost care at preserving free speech on campus. Unfortunately, the response today from Marquette gives us some pause. Marquette’s statement hints at curtailing academic speech for all their professors, which should alarm students and professors across the political spectrum. They repeat the claim– first made by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) – that private employers must have the right to set their own standards for employees. Their attorney declared that today’s decision “should be of grave concern to private businesses.”

That is, of course, nonsense. As explained by Justice Rebecca Bradley in her concurrence, “the doctrine of academic freedom has no application within private enterprise, unless of course a private entity incorporates the doctrine into employee contracts.” The only entities that should be concerned of today’s decision are universities who promise free speech to their professors and do not keep that promise.

All across the country, academic freedom is under assault on campuses. Universities are treating academic freedom as the right to say only what administrators or the loudest factions on campus approve of.

But today, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck a major blow in favor of free speech, delivering the unequivocal message that “academic freedom” means just that.

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Thursday, July 05, 2018

Scapegoat: Marquette Student Expelled Over Gag Photo in Racial Hysteria

Given recent headlines, one would think that the Ku Klux Klan was running wild at Marquette. The Channel 12 website said:
MILWAUKEE — A disturbing and racially charged photo posted on Snapchat has some students on Marquette University’s campus upset.

“As a black student on this campus, I’m ashamed of what happened. It’s not right,” said Richard Nwabuzor, the vice president of the campus chapter of the NAACP.

[Deija] Richards said a lot of students in the black campus community don’t feel safe.

“I felt personally attacked, and I know a lot of people around me did,” she added.
So what does this scary image look like? Guys in KKK hoods? Rednecks with guns and a Confederate battle flag? Not at all. This is the image.

Click on Image to Enlarge

It’s quite obviously four white guys pretending to be gangsta rappers, with toy guns, hoodies, and gang signs (see the fellow on the right). The black doll isn’t any sort of demeaning image of a black man, but a hip looking fellow in a pinstripe vest who might be (say) a record company executive.

The word “chuuch” is, according to the Urban Dictionary, “an old pimp way of saying ‘Amen.’”

White guys staging a tableau of this sort may be a bit silly, but it’s not the least bit racist.

The fellow in the hoodie in the back (see the arrow) is a Marquette student. A Latino, we will call him “Enrique.” The photo was shot almost two years ago, with Enrique and some of his high school buddies and members of his soccer team.  The black doll was owned by one of Enrique’s buddies; he carried it around a lot.

Enrique’s dad, in an e-mail to the Warrior Blog, confirmed that his son’s intention was “merely a game” and not any sort of racist display.

Things Get Wild

Enrique, this past April, used AirDrop on his iPhone to send the photo to several people at random. Most thought it was humorous, but one black female student got the image, was offended, and complained loudly to other black students. An uproar ensued with over-the-top rhetoric and irate tweets, like this one:

Of course, the College Democrats chimed in:

Panderfest

Naturally, in the wake of any claimed racist incident, campus bureaucrats will pander shamelessly, and that was certainly the case here. As Zachary Petrizzo reported in Campus Reform, the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Mission and Ministry held a forum so that “we as members of the white community must take an increased responsibility to learn about our role in contributing to racism on campus and in our communities.” Never mind that it was only one Latino in the community who did something that was not racist — although perhaps ill-advised, given the number of people on campus looking for a racial grievance.

And of course Vice President of Student Affairs Xavier Cole chimed in saying:
Our job at Marquette, which we will do much more of, is to help provide safe spaces, provide support for our students of color but also for our majority students to provide tools that we need so we will be able to engage in meaningful conversations, solutions, and dialogues that not only make Marquette better, but our city, and then our state. . . . 
Campus bureaucrats love “racist incidents,” since they give them an excuse to expand their staffs and budgets with new “initiatives.”

More Pandering

Perhaps the creepiest pandering came from President Michael Lovell, who tweeted the following:

Enrique Comes Forward

Noticing the uproar, and naïvely thinking he just needed to explain things, Enrique came forward to the campus cops. After an investigation, they talked to the woman who had complained and (according to the police report):
. . . informed her that the investigation was wrapping up and informed [her] that the individual that sent the photos had no intent to harass her and was not targeting her.
The campus cops forwarded their report to Campus Conduct officials. Unfortunately, those folks were out for blood.

Enrique was first given a hearing in front of two Marquette counsels, and then an appeal before a panel of Marquette faculty, after which he was expelled.

Even before the expulsion, his father explains that:
My son was removed immediately from the dorms and had to find where to stay for the rest of the year and had numerous . . . sleepless nights because of the whole situation.
Summarizing the whole incident, the father said:
Somewhere in April the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and other communities gather together and talked about this and we never had the chance to voice our side of the story.

I do not see why [they would] punish a very good person and judging him just by one mistake he made to send a picture anonymously to another person that opted to received it instead of hearing the whole story and judging him by the whole person he is.

How Does Marquette Respond to Leftist Vandalism?

It might be useful to compare this case to one where leftist students in the feminist group Empowerment vandalized an anti-abortion display in October, 2016.


They covered over the display board with their own pro-abortion signs and tore up the blue and pink flags planted in the ground (representing boy and girl babies who had been aborted).

How were they punished? Each of the vandals was required to write a three page paper explaining how they acted irresponsibly. Two students refused to do this (claiming it was finals week), and they were given a semester probation.

Translation: slap on the wrist.

So a blatant, head-on attack on free expression got off with a trivial punishment, and a gag photo was punished with expulsion.

Conclusion

Marquette bureaucrats, quite simply, compulsively pander to the forces of political correctness. A lot of black students were up in arms about the gag photo, so the fellow in the photo had to be expelled. But several faculty intervened in the case of the abortion display vandalism, demanding leniency for the culprits. Marquette gave them a slap on the wrist for an offense far worse than the gag photo.

This is racialized “justice.” This is where Marquette is.

[Update: story updated 5:33 p.m. to correct ownership of the doll.]

[Update: story updated 7/16, photo not sent to people he knew, but rather random people.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

U.N. Human Rights Council: Oxymoron

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Dropped It!

Monday, July 02, 2018

Warrior Blogger Discusses Campus Free Speech

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Yes!

False Rape Accusations Are Common

From WTNH TV, the story of a woman who made a false rape accusation:
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A young woman accused of making up rape allegations against two college football players to gain the sympathy of another student she wanted to date is going on trial this week, and claims that she was pressured into confessing are expected to play a key role.

Jury selection in the case of Nikki Yovino, 19, of South Setauket, New York, is to begin Tuesday in Bridgeport Superior Court in Connecticut, and testimony is expected to start June 18. Prosecutors and defense lawyers will be in court Monday to argue over whether some evidence and testimony should be excluded from the trial.

Yovino was a student at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield when police say she reported being raped by two Sacred Heart football players at an off-campus party in Bridgeport in October 2016.

Authorities say she later admitted that she had consensual sex with the players and told them her motive. She was charged with evidence tampering, a felony, and falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor. The evidence tampering charge carries as many as five years in prison.
So her fake story fell apart, and she was charged. Justice was done, right? Not really. The story continues:
Yovino withdrew from Sacred Heart. The football players were never criminally charged, but both withdrew from the school as they faced possible disciplinary action based. One player lost a football scholarship, his lawyer said.

The football players’ names have not been released by police but are expected to be disclosed when they testify at the trial, their lawyer said.

“Her actions have seriously affected them,” attorney Frank Riccio II said. “They’re no longer in school. The loss of their education and the college experience has certainly affected them greatly. And this is all because of a very serious lie.”
One case, of course, doesn’t prove much of anything, but it does underline the problem with the feminist notion that women would never (well, they have to admit, hardly ever) lie about rape.

How Common are False Rape Accusations?

Quoting from Stuart Taylor, Jr. and KC Johnson, Until Proven Innocent, 2007, pp. 374-375.
The standard assertion by feminists that only 2 percent of rape claims are false, which traces to Susan Brownmiller’s 1975 book Against Our Will, is without empirical foundation and belied by a wealth of empirical data. These data suggest that at least 9 percent and probably closer to half of all rape claims are false:
  1. FBI statistics say conservatively that about 9 percent of rape reports are “unfounded” in the sense of being dismissed without charges filed, usually because the accuser recants or because her account is contradicted by other evidence.
  2. Forty-one percent of 109 rape complainants eventually admitted to police that no rape had occurred, according to a careful, highly regarded 1994 study of all rape reports in a midwestern town of about 70,000 between 1978 and 1987, by Purdue sociologist Eugene J. Kanin, Ph. D. The recantations made irrelevant the claims of many feminists that police often discount valid rape claims. And because there is no reason to suppose that all false accusers recanted, the total number of false reports probably exceeded 41 percent. The police in the study made serious efforts to polygraph both the accused and the accuser; it is now much more rare for police to polygraph rape accusers, due to pressure from feminist and victims’ rights groups more interested in convictions than in truth.

    Kanin also concluded that “these false charges were able to serve three major functions for the complainants: providing an alibi, a means of gaining revenge, and a platform for seeking attention/sympathy. This tripartite model resulted from the complainants’ own verbalizations during recantation and does not constitute conjecture.” Other experts note other motives for false rape claims; they include remorse after an impulsive sexual fling and escaping accountability when caught in an embarrassing consensual encounter.
  3. Fifty percent (32) of accusers recanted their rape charges in a study by Kanin of campus police reports on sixty four rape claims at two large, unnamed Midwestern universities. In both universities, the taking of the complaint and the follow-up investigation were done by a ranking female officer. “Quite unexpectedly then” Kanin wrote, “we find that these university women, when filing a rape complaint, were as likely to file a false as a valid charge. Other reports from university police agencies support these findings.”
  4. False rape accusations occur with scary frequency and “any honest veteran sex assault investigator will tell you that rape is one of the most falsely reported crimes,” Craig Silverman, a former Colorado prosecutor known for his zealous pursuit of alleged rapists, said in 2004 as a commentator on the Kobe Bryant case for Denver’s ABC affiliate. Silverman added that a Denver sex-assault unit commander had estimated that nearly 50 percent of reported rape claims are false.
  5. Fraudulent rape complaints were perceived as a problem by 73 percent of the women and 72 percent of the men in a survey of students at the Air Force Academy, West Point, and the Naval Academy, according to a March 2005 Defense Department report.
  6. One in four rape reports was unfounded in a 1990-1991 Washington Post investigation in seven Virginia and Maryland counties. When contacted by the Post, many of the alleged victims admitted that they had lied.
The presumption, driven by the political power of feminists on college campuses, that any accusation of rape must be true is a classic case of ideologically driven “justice.”

The campus leftists would loudly support the presumption of innocence, and full due process rights, for a black defendant accused of robbery, or a Muslim accused of conspiring with terrorists. But since the stereotypical campus rapist is a white male, these principles go out the window.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Liberals: Trump Supporters Are Racist



The fundamental problem is simple: liberals (whom we don’t like to call “liberals” since they have ceased to have any connection with tolerant classical liberalism) tend to live in a narrow, insular little world. A narrow and insular social world (in enclaves like the East Side of Milwaukee, Manhattan, Madison and Berkeley) and in professions like journalism, academia, government bureaucracies and so on.

And in a narrow media world, where the narratives of the mainstream media are accepted as gospel.

In such an environment, it’s easy to believe that all the good people agree with you, and all those people who don’t are evil.

In such a world, it becomes acceptable to attack people who disagree, to deny them service in a restaurant, to get them fired from their jobs, to harass them, and to demonize them.

Quite simply, bigotry on the right is idiosyncratic, the product of a few deranged souls.

But bigotry on the left is social, the product of a deranged and intolerant culture.

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