Marquette Warrior: Marquette’s Feckless, Disingenuous Attack on the Warrior Blog / Lawyer Responds

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Marquette’s Feckless, Disingenuous Attack on the Warrior Blog / Lawyer Responds

The latest, from our lawyer Rick Esenberg of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

University violated its own faculty procedures, failed to respect academic freedom

December 23, 2014, Milwaukee, WI – Yesterday afternoon, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (“WILL”) asked Marquette University to abide by its own rules and to honor its commitment to academic freedom. On behalf of its client, John McAdams, WILL sent a letter to Marquette University raising serious legal issues with how it has treated Dr. McAdams.

Dr. McAdams recently received a letter from the Dean of the College of Letters and Science relieving him from his duties as a tenured member of Marquette’s faculty, banning him from campus and from any activity that would cause him to come into contact with any member of the Marquette community. The letter, taking a page from Franz Kafka’s The Trial, offered no explanation of what Dr. McAdams is alleged to have done or how it might violate any of the university’s rules and regulations. When Dr. McAdams asked for an explanation, he received no reply.

Suspending a faculty member without specification of what he or she has done wrong and the process for contesting the suspension violates Marquette’s Faculty Statutes. As WILL put it, the letter to Dr. McAdams says only that “he is being investigated for some unnamed event that might violate some unidentified requirement of the university to be found somewhere in one of several documents enclosed with the letter.” While Marquette now claims that Dr. McAdams has not been suspended because “suspension” means “without pay,” its Faculty Statutes say otherwise. All suspensions are with pay. “When someone does not want to follow the rules or explain what he is doing, it’s generally a sign of a deeper problem,” said WILL President and General Counsel, Rick Esenberg. In this case, the problem seems to be the failure of the university to abide by its own guarantees of academic freedom.

Subsequent statements from the university have made clear that the basis for the suspension is a blog post in which Dr. McAdams publicly criticized a graduate instructor in the Philosophy Department for telling a student that opposition to same sex marriage would not be tolerated in her class because it would be considered offensive and homophobic. Dr. McAdams expressed the view that such statements were consistent with a regrettable trend on the left to dismiss disfavored views out of hand as “offensive” rather than debate them on the merits.

Suspension of Dr. McAdams for engaging in academic discourse would violate Section 306.03 of Marquette’s Faculty Statutes, which prohibits suspension or termination for reasons that would impair the full and free enjoyment of legitimate personal or academic freedoms of thought, doctrine, discourse, association, advocacy, or action. “The point is not whether you agree or disagree about what should and should not be said in class or how you feel about same sex marriage,” said Esenberg. “It’s not even about whether Dr. McAdams could have or should have phrased his view differently,” he continued. He explained that the University has committed itself to the robust exchange of ideas and it has promised its faculty that they will not be disciplined for participation in that exchange WILL’s letter asks that Dr. McAdams’ suspension (or whatever other thing it might be) be rescinded and that he be restored to his duties. “I’m not in this for anything but academic freedom,” Dr. McAdams said. “I just want to remind Marquette of its own principles and promises and ask that they be followed.”

****** The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty is a non-profit, public interest law firm promoting the public interest in constitutional and open government, individual liberty, and a robust civil society. Further inquiries may be directed to Mr. Esenberg at rick@will-law.
For a more detailed outline of the case, including details of how Marquette violated its own statutes, and then fibbed about what the statutes mean, check the letter that WILL wrote to President Lovell.

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Blogger Unknown said...

It is an ABSOLUTE DISGRACE to ALL CATHOLICS who believe in God and HIS PLAN for Life and UNITY among his creation MAN & Woman. It is a complete shame that under the guise of equality this "Catholic" university DISMISSES any "CATHOLIC" viewpoints that are not LIBERAL!!!! The POPE should be notified and the this school should no longer be considered a Catholic University OR those who PERSECUTED TRUE CHRISTIANS should be DISMISSED rather than Professor McAdams who was defending a student's RELIGIOUS FREEDOM and his American FREEDOM of SPEECH! What an EMBARASSMENT to the Catholic CHURCH!!!

10:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

President Lovell ought to be suspended "with pay".

2:23 PM  
Blogger John said...

So you're a tenured professor who went after a grad student you don't know based on second-hand information? Wow. How very brave of you and what an incredible display of your research capabilities and academic depth. Nice work.

12:04 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

So you're a tenured professor who went after a grad student you don't know based on second-hand information?

The conversation was recorded by the undergraduate. What I quoted Abbate saying was rock solid information.

9:40 PM  
Blogger BuckeyeCat said...

Unfortunately, the current (Jesuit) pope would be unlikely to find this incident troublesome. Years ago, the papal nuncio told Seattle U. that it could not have a university sponsored club endorsing homosexuality. That had no impact, and things are worse in terms of "Catholic" universities--especially Jesuit campuses. At this point, the PC fashion is not likely to meet Vatican resistance. If you want to send kids to a Catholic college, try Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA. When the school discovered an unmarried couple, who were students, living together off campus it expelled them.

9:55 PM  
Blogger BuckeyeCat said...

Well, "nice work" would include your investigating the facts of the case before arriving at a conclusion. The Philosophy T. A. was not a victim. No amount of spin can change that. It was she who imposed speech restrictions on the students in her charge. What she did was the antithesis of the Socratic method, and of authentic philosophy. What the Marquette administrators have done is the antithesis of providing a genuine liberal education. "Liber," the Latin for "to free," aims to investigate unexamined assumptions to free us of prejudice, ideology, and so on. As Clifford pointed out, we all have our "darling lies" that need the light of reason to dissipate them. Marquette has its own set of darling lies and ideology, which none but the courageous dare question.

10:08 PM  
Blogger Daws7 said...

ISIS and other such groups would recruit these 'progressives' (not Catholics) in a flash for their near expert censorship skills.
The spirit of evil exudes from their actions. How do they sleep at night?

11:43 AM  

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