Marquette Warrior: Marquette Warrior Blogger Harassed by Provost John Pauly

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Marquette Warrior Blogger Harassed by Provost John Pauly

We’ve been pretty critical of various Marquette officials on this blog, so it wouldn’t be surprising to get some pushback. We’ve particularly been critical of Provost John Pauly.

Pauly was the key figure behind the attempt to hire activist lesbian dean candidate Jodi O’Brien. But even worse is the fact that Pauly initiated a policy of putting more classes at 8:00 a.m. This was vastly unpopular with both students and faculty, but Pauly claimed that was necessary to better utilize Marquette’s physical plant, and claimed that the choice was between offering more 8:00 a.m. classes and building new buildings.

We showed that this claim was bogus. A little research turned up the fact that there were plenty of classrooms available at 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., and this without any pressure to move classes to 8:00 a.m.

When our blog post circulated around the campus, Pauly simply doubled down on his plan, producing a PowerPoint presentation that supposedly showed our data were wrong, and surreptitiously showed it to deans and department chairs.

We got wind of this, and did a new analysis, taking into account all the claims that Pauly had made about our initial analysis, and continued to find many available classrooms at more desirable times. Eventually, Pauly had to cave, and in what must have been a humiliating retreat, rescinded the 8:00 a.m. mandate.

Pushback From Pauly

Thus we were not entirely surprised when we got the following e-mail from Pauly.
Hi, John,

I have asked my assistant, Kim Newman, to set up a meeting between you, me, Barry McCormick, and Phil Rossi. My concern is that the recent case of Anahi Sanchez illustrates some of the ongoing potential conflicts between your role as Marquette professor and employee, and independent blogger-journalist. My hope is that our conversation might clarify some of those role expectations going forward. A half hour should do the trick.

Best wishes!
John Pauly
The Pretext

So just what was the deal with Anahi Sanchez?

Back in February, we learned that “The Vagina Monologues” is to be performed on campus. A source tipped us off that Marquette performances were listed on the website. We checked that out, and found that feminist activist Anahí Sánchez was listed as the Marquette contact.

A link on the website led to her e-mail. So we sent her an e-mail, asking for confirmation, and especially under what auspices the play would be performed. This was an issue in 2007, when Student Affairs refused to let a student group sponsor the play (which is wildly at odds with Catholic teaching about sexuality). But academic units are free to mount whatever programs then want, and thus the Honors Program was the sponsor.

Here is our e-mail:
Sent: Friday, February 18, 2011 9:24 AM

To: Sanchez, Anahi

According to the Vagina Monologues website, there are going to be performances on campus, and you are the contact.

Can you confirm that this is the case?

Under what auspices will the performance be staged (a student organization, Honors Program, etc.)?

Any information you can give me will be appreciated. If you want to call me at 288-3425, I’d be happy to talk.

John McAdams

Department of Political Science
Marquette Warrior Blog
When we hadn’t heard from her in a few hours, we found her home phone number at, and called it. A fellow, sounding to be middle-aged (her father, perhaps) answered and we left a message asking her to call us. We shortly got an e-mail from her:
The Vagina Monologues will be performed on campus through the women of Empowerment.

If you would like to know more feel free to ask me through email or if you feel the need to call me please do so on my cell phone (414) [redacted]. I know you called my home earlier today. I don’t recall putting that information up on the website but if I did that is not correct, so I apologize for that.

Anahí Sánchez

National M.E.Ch.A. Co-chair

Marquette University ‘11
We, of course, were happy with this response, since it clearly implied that she was willing to share information. But we had no information yet, and so put up a post with the information we had.

After learning that Social and Cultural Sciences would sponsor the event, we learned that it had been removed from the website. So we wrote her again on February 28.
Hi, Anahi,

Could you tell me what the current deal with The Vagina Monologues is? . . . The Marquette performance is not now listed on the Vday website. I’m just trying to do an update on this, and wondering what the deal is.

John McAdams
We got no response. We tried calling her cell phone three (if memory serves) times, but it rang off the hook. So we gave up.

On March 9, we finally got around to putting up another blog post on the event, with the time and date having been gotten from Special Events. But Sánchez appears to have somehow felt aggrieved, since she complained to university officials (and eventually to Pauly), not that she has been harassed, but that she did not know whether we were trying to contact her in our role as a faculty member or our role as a blogger!

Given the innocuous nature of the information we were asking for, a stray person off the street had the right to e-mail her (again her e-mail was listed on the website). This, it seems, was a sufficient pretext for Pauly to summon us, Political Science Chair Barry McCormick and Interim Arts & Sciences Dean Phil Rossi to his office. The meeting is set up for this Friday, and we will report on it here.

Pauly Is Badly Compromised in Dealing With This

We sent Pauly this e-mail on Monday (2/28) explaining the problem he has:

The problem is that you are badly compromised in dealing with this issue, since I’ve been quite critical of you on my blog. So when this breaks it will look for all the world like you are seizing on some trivial issue as a form of “payback” for the tough time I’ve given you.

That, at least, is the appearance, and appearances matter.

You might also ask yourself whether this would look to anybody like any kind of substantial issue. What you have is one . . . young lady who complains that she didn’t know whether I was making an inquiry as a professor or a blogger. But that didn’t matter. I had a right to ask in either role. Indeed, since she was listed at the Marquette contact for the Vagina Monologues on the website, a stray person off the street had every right to contact her and ask innocuous questions about the forthcoming performance.

So that’s going to look like a pretext, rather than a problem of any sort.

Clearly you should recuse yourself from this “issue.” If you really think it is an issue, kick it down to Barry and Phil.

You should also call one or two of your former colleagues in journalism, and ask them whether they see any issue here.

Given that you could have simply called me, and we could have talked about this, your e-mails, involving Barry and Phil looks for all the world like harassment.

And if you insist on summoning me over to talk to you three, I can only interpret that as further harassment.

You could just let this drop, or you could just call me, and I’ll be happy to listen to any concerns you have.

Please think about this. Just trying to give some friendly advice.


Pauly hung tough, and insisted on a meeting with us, McCormick and Rossi. Remember, on the 8:00 a.m. class issue, Pauly hung tough on an untenable position.

But of course, we don’t know what his position is here. At one point in the e-mail exchange, he implied that our signing the initial e-mail “Department of Political Science/Marquette Warrior Blog” was the issue. Is it all this trivial?

Clearly, blogging is an academic activity, protected by the canons of academic freedom. Many academics have blogs, including those in the Marquette Law School, Mark Johnson in Theology, Matt Wion in Philosophy, and Steve Byers in Journalism. National blogs run by academics include Althouse, and The Volokh Conspiracy.

Virtually all academics have a legitimate interest in public affairs, including the internal politics of the institutions where they work. And blogging is a form of publication, although admittedly more like a newspaper op-ed that an article in a scholarly journal. But academics have a right to academic freedom in writing op-eds and articles for the popular press, as Marquette’s heretical theologian Dan Maguire demonstrates with great frequency.

But university bureaucrats don’t like being criticized, and especially don’t like being criticized by those supposedly “below” them in the hierarchy. We’ll find out, soon enough, what Pauly’s position is.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can we do to help? I will call pauly tomorrow and I am half tempted to call the girl. If she can't answer the phone what will the poor fragile thing do when she graduates?

7:37 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

What can we do to help?

I wouldn't call Anahi, but you have every right to call or e-mail Pauly.

9:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grade school mischief, all the way around - especially from you. You should be spending time trying to figure out how you can move from the ranking of associate professor to full professor. And with regard to academic freedom, you refused to post a comment made by me last week in reference to domestic partner benefits. The hypocrisy is appalling and laughable.... When you meet with Pauly, John, try to convey that you are going to publish something of some substance next year. '86 Alumunus

12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If it looks like you are going to get in trouble for being critical of the V-Monologues...

Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski
Prefect-Congregation for Catholic Education and Seminaries
Piazza Pio XII, 3
00193 Vatican City, Italy, Europe

(He might also be very interested to hear about the whole Domestic Parternship bennifts thing too.)

1:47 AM  
Anonymous James Pawlak said...

There are some positive aspects to tenure.

8:15 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

you refused to post a comment made by me last week in reference to domestic partner benefits

That would have been the one where you called me a "homophobe."

Don't much like people dissenting from your liberal views, do you?

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's canon, John, not cannon. As in canon law. Different means of coercion.

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't call you a homophobe. I used the word "bigots" in a generic sense and remarked that the conversation regarding homosexuality is over. You refused to print it... Yes, I'm a liberal. Proud of that label. I also like the tea party demands that federal spending be cut and other "conservative" ideals. In other words, I like the truth... Good luck with the little meeting today. The whole thing is mickey mouse all the way around.

11:06 AM  
Blogger david said...

It was too forward of you to call her house, but, meh, no harm, no foul. By the way it has nothing to do with calls from 'a blogger' or 'a professor.' It has to do with calls from 'the big bad conservative.'

A better question was whether the e-mail to Pauly was undignified on your part. Not so keen for the cross, are you McAdams?

1:39 PM  
Anonymous R. Coles said...

As co-sponsor of the upcoming Vagina Monologues, I would like you (Dr. McAdams)to specify what in the script is so contrary to Catholic teaching. Are women not supposed to have thoughts or feelings about their body parts or about how society views their bodies or about satisfying or unsatisfying sex? The monologues are also about women speaking against sexual violence. Is Catholic teaching for sexual violence against women? Or only that which is against children?

In terms of John Pauly pushing back, John, in fact, has been a stalwart defender of your right to express your views. Believe me, many faculty have asked John Pauly to DO something or SAY something to help curb the way you feel free to make public your colleagues’ emails and to criticize student research. John has always answered those requests with a reminder of your First Amendment rights and academic freedom.

3:43 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Hi, Roberta,

I would like you (Dr. McAdams)to specify what in the script is so contrary to Catholic teaching.

I blogged on it rather extensively the last time around.

But you might check this.

Would you deny that it's anti-male sexism?

And what about the lesbian pedophile seducation? (Yes, it was a girl below the age of consent in the original version of the play, before ensler decided it has to be sanitized.)

Then how about the lesbian dominatrix prostitute? Read about both here.

Slate (hardly a conservative source) had the following to say:

Its vision of female sexuality is at least as narrow and insulting as Henry Miller: A woman is a machine you work like a crank until you produce the desired quantity of fluid--from you and from her.

But somehow feminists view it as a sort of liberation.

(More in the next reply.)

6:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard that the Vagina Monologues will be on campus. I look forward to attending. Thank you for letting me know about this.

6:59 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Are women not supposed to have thoughts or feelings about their body parts or about how society views their bodies or about satisfying or unsatisfying sex? The monologues are also about women speaking against sexual violence.

There are different ways of doing these things. As for "feelings about their body parts:" guys have always been accused with being obsessed with their penises. But that's not thought to be a sign of empowerment and liberation. It's been viewed as a bit silly.

TVM is obsessed with the vagina. A normal interest in body parts is one thing, but an obsession is something else. Frank discussion of sexuality doesn't have to be full of stuff that's morally questionable, and simply adolescent.

As for violence against women: you trivialize the issue when you put it in TVM. By all means have a speaker who can talk about violence against women. Have an expert speaker. Have a compelling speaker. Don't dilute it with stuff that produces titters.

(Still more in the next post.)

7:06 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

John, in fact, has been a stalwart defender of your right to express your views.

I'm glad to hear that.

But you need to know that when somebody leaks an e-mail of interest to the Marquette community, it's journalistic fair game.

The people complaining probably have no problem with leaked e-mails that reflect badly on (say) a tobacco company or the Pentagon.

But somehow Ronnie Sanlow's secret visit to Marquette has to remain a secret, and the fact that a subcommittee of the Academic Senate is pushing Domestic Partner benefits for gay and lesbian employees has to be concealed from the campus community and the public so it can be dropped on them later.

E-mails have always been journalistic fair game -- as least for as long as there have been e-mails.

But I do appreciate knowing that Pauly has been supportive of academic freedom. Of course he should be. But not all administrators do.

Thanks for your comments.

7:18 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

make public your colleagues’ emails and to criticize student research.

I'm not aware that I have ever criticized student research -- at least on my blog. (I assume you and I both provide constructive criticism to students that we teach.)

Unless you mean the time that I pointed out that a project done in "Women and Gender Studies" was really a Gay and Lesbian studies project, which was evidence that this is a stealth way of getting "Queer Studies" into the curriculum.

7:34 PM  
Anonymous James Diamond said...

Hi John,

I sent a message to Anahi, not to harass in any way, but to simply demonstrate that actions have consequences. It's the lesson most students will never receive, as long as they load their schedule with liberal-minded professors and fluffy classes. I'm including the full text not to brag, but to give you the full picture:

"I'm messaging you to voice my support of Professor John McAdams's right to ask questions about issues affecting the Catholic identity of Marquette University, the beloved university from which I received my Bachelor of Arts in 2008.

Some people go to the authorities with frivolous claims. Some people grow thicker skin. I hope you choose the right path in the future.

If you use this message to further compromise John McAdams's ability to operate an independent blog, please make sure to mention my name as well. If they take away his blog, I'm sending back my degree."

James Diamond

11:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should pay you to write the blog, it is the only source of info for many alum that are tired of the Kumbaya letters and groveling for money. Hopefully pauly will discuss a raise.

11:53 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

I sent a message to Anahi, not to harass in any way, but to simply demonstrate that actions have consequences.

I guess you are free to do that, since she has created a news story that involves her.

I'm pretty sure you didn't get contact information from my blog post, since I redacted all contact information.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Badger Catholic said...

We will be praying for a positive outcome. I think it's clear to anyone reading what is really going on.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Jeremy Barrett said...

Anonymous '86. Perhaps you should become educated about academics. Most professors are associate professors and the hoops you have to jump through for full professor aren't worth it. Just another liberal idiot with no clue and no backbone to give their name.

Please let me know how I can help.

Institutions who turn from God's principles are generally not successful.

I'm quite shocked at the marxist/communist comments by some of the faculty concerning cenorship. Though really you just have to look at the national government and how they treat the press and free speech to get an idea of how these liberals think.

The ideas concerning sexual relationships and sexuality are clearly laid out in the Bible. The problem is that you have to read it.

Jeremy Barrett

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding what makes the vagina monologues "anti-Catholic" (which somehow is being raised as a question by an intelligent person):

Not meaning to be glib, but the local Archbishops have, on multiple occassions, indicated that it is.

I'm sorry if that is hard for you to understand, what with faith the size of a mustard seed required to believe in such "un-enlightened" things as humility, obedience and the such...

One could list the dozens of other reasons why, but sadly, I don't think any amount of discourse can change your opinion. It comes from the heart. Discourse can change people's minds, but your dissent from Catholic teaching seems to come not from the mind, but from the heart.

Only prayer can assist you in that regard, but nonetheless I wish you all the best in your misguided liberal agenda.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Emily said...

It's a play, folks, and not even a terribly great one at that.

If you were really so secure in your faith I really doubt that students putting on a play would freak you out quite so much.

(I witnessed almost this exact same scenario play out at the Catholic college that I attended - and it was just as silly then as it is now)

1:11 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

it was just as silly then as it is now)

The play, or people opposed to the play?

Or both?

I think you know that if it were a play that disparaged (say) gays, people would be up in arms. Would you be saying "just a play" in that case?

I think TVM is vastly more important as a cultural artifact than as drama. I find it bizarre that feminists think it's some form of empowerment or liberation.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps Pauly as an administrator should suggest you focus more on teaching students than working on a blog that bites the hand feeding you. You have every right to do this, but there must be more pressing work for a college teacher than worrying what claptrap is showing at the Varsity. This all sounds like a weird parody of campus life, a la Tom Wolfe.

8:48 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

there must be more pressing work for a college teacher than worrying what claptrap is showing at the Varsity.

You wouldn't say that if something you disapproved of was showing at the Varsity.

And don't you have more pressing work than bitching at me here?

2:25 PM  

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