Marquette Warrior: Reprisal: Marquette Warrior Under “Investigation” By University

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Reprisal: Marquette Warrior Under “Investigation” By University

It created more controversy than any blog other post we have done: an account of a Philosophy instructor at Marquette who told a student that gay marriage could not be discussed in her class since any opposition would be “homophobic” and would “offend” any gay students in the class. Not only did the story echo among Catholic outlets and sites dedicated to free speech on campus, but it created considerable blow back among leftist academics, who pretty much demanded our head on a pike.

Today we got an e-mail from Dean Richard Holz:
Dear John:

The university is continuing to review your conduct and during this period--and until further notice--you are relieved of all teaching duties and all other faculty activities, including, but not limited to, advising, committee work, faculty meetings and any activity that would involve your interaction with Marquette students, faculty and staff. Should any academic appeals arise from Fall 2014 semester, however, you are expected to fulfill your obligations in that specific matter.

Your salary and benefits will continue at their current level during this time.

You are to remain off campus during this time, and should you need to come to campus, you are to contact me in writing beforehand to explain the purpose of your visit, to obtain my consent and to make appropriate arrangements for that visit. I am enclosing with this letter Marquette’s harassment policy, its guiding values statement, the University mission statement, and sections from the Faculty Handbook, which outline faculty rights and responsibilities; these documents will inform our review of your conduct.


Richard C. Holz, Ph.D. Dean
We wrote him back and asked what the charges against us are. He failed to respond. Since we have done nothing particularly controversial lately besides blog about the Philosophy instructor (one Cheryl Abbate), we have to assume that’s what it is about.

The fact that Holz sent the “harassment policy” suggests that somebody thinks that merely blogging about questionable conduct by a Philosophy instructor constitutes “harassment.” Marquette’s harassment policy is absurdly vague and includes “behavior is intimidating, hostile or demeaning or could or does result in mental, emotional or physical discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule or harm.” That’s right, even mental discomfort (which should be a normal part of having one’s opinions challenged in a university) is considered harassing.

However, the behavior must be directed toward a protected class (color, race, national origin, ethnicity, religion, disability, veteran status, age, gender or sexual orientation), and leftist philosophers are not a protected class.

As for having to remain off campus — in effect, being treated like a potential terrorist — we don’t know where that came from. The last time we were accused of harassment (it was sexual harassment, since we told an entire class that feminists grossly exaggerate the incidence of college date rape) we were not treated like a terrorist.

We insisted to Holz that we need to come to campus to complete a manuscript we are working on, he said that was OK.

Whether Marquette officials really want to punish us for blogging, or whether they simply feel the need for a pro forma “investigation” of charges someone has brought, we don’t know. Either would be gross misconduct on the part of Marquette officials. Any attempt to censor our blog not only would violate the canons of academic freedom, but would reverse years of precedent, since we have been free to criticize things going on at Marquette for nearly ten years now. And an “investigation” constitutes a form of harassment. Any charges against us should have been summarily dismissed.

Marquette, in other words, has again shown itself to be timid, overly bureaucratic and lacking any commitment to either its Catholic mission or free expression.

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Blogger Robert said...

I graduated from Marquette in 1992 (business) and then I don't remember any instructor being so radical. Back then the big issue on campus was apartheid and Marquette's investment portfolio. I was against Marquette divesting itself of Pepsi which had black south African employees and treated them fairly and would get into debates with my more liberal English, sociology and philosophy instructors but nobody ever tried to make me feel bad about myself or wouldn't let me speak in class. That was unheard of. This is why when I get the cards and letters in the mail asking for donations to Marquette, they go into the recycling bin.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

I don't know if you got my last comment or not. This is the first time reading this blog. Marquette certainly has changed since I graduated in 1992 (business). I had to take classes in English, philosophy, ethics, etc and sometimes would debate my professors. Back then the big topic was apartheid and I argued against Marquette divesting itself of Pepsi since Pepsi had black employees in South Africa and by all accounts was a good employer. I was NEVER made to feel like I should shut up and not speak and sometimes the debates would get very lively. The instructors back then were very open to differing opinions. All you had to do was be respectful of the other person. But Marquette of my youth is not the Marquette of my middle age and stories like these AND THE FACT THEY WOULDNT ACCEPT THE WORD WARRIOR WITH AN IMAGE OF A WARRIOR WHO IS NOT OBVIOUSLY NATIVE AMERICAN (take deep breath) is the reason all the cards and letters from Marquette begging for money go into the recycling bin.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Concerned Catholic said...

Dr. McAdams,

Marquette University is posturing to terminate your employment. I know this is obvious to you and your legal representation, but it is my intention to make certain that readers of this blog understand the precise meaning of the university's actions. It is no longer their intention to settle this matter quietly; they see this as their best opportunity to excise you from the university body, and they're prepared to dig in, particularly if this story does not find traction in the media.

There are those of us out here in the real world who will make certain that it does find loud and appropriate outlets for dissemination. Quickly.

Having read your blog for years and followed your efforts, I can only express my utter disappointment that Marquette University has largely abandoned its Catholic mission. There are unfortunate consequences to this.

Remember, everyone: truth is an absolute defense to accusations of libel. To those who have accused you of such, I strongly caution them of their legal responsibility for doing so. It is not likely that the university's legal umbrella would cover them should some of them be named individually as defendants.

Please publish information on how we can help defray your legal expenses. Should you need help, we are eager to provide assistance.

Concerned Catholic

10:59 AM  
Blogger bad touch said...

---support you 110%.

11:43 AM  
Blogger mobtownrestoration said...

I wish I had more than just a pot to piss in so I could send the cash you way to take up the legal wranglers that I hope you are well on the way to securing to deal with this particular pissing match. The Left has gone straight over the cliff, lemming mad and, while it's a hoot to watch it all these days, it needs to be beaten back and have a metaphorical stake or three driven through it nasty, ugly, illiberal heart or better yet, publicly exposed so that sunlight turns it to dust ala the vampire movies and shows so popular these days. Please keep up the good fight. I follow these kinds of stories out of some morbid curiosity about mass delusions and societal lunacy or something and this is surely right up there with the rest. I'm waiting for the requirement for a 3rd party arbiter for all human conversations to be suggested.

12:05 PM  
Blogger KeynesianPacker said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:12 PM  
Blogger hawkeyedjb said...

What on earth are you thinking? Expressing incorrect or unapproved ideas (at a university, of all places) is highly improper.

We are quite put off.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Eric Rasmusen said...

Keep up the good work. Since you will have some leisure time now, and may feel a little guilty for taking university money without doing any work, here's an idea for you: teach a no-credit course off-campus for whatever Marquette students feel like attending. You can publicize it by putting an ad in the student newspaper. You might, in fact, teach an ethics course to give students the chance to discuss topics Marquette doesn't teach.

12:37 PM  
Blogger MUgal79 said...

Dear Professor Mc Adams,
I am thoroughly disgusted with
Marquette University who has obviously drunk the liberal kool-aid. Thanks for being a true warrior for truth on campus. In closing, here is my favorite quote from Marcus Cicero on the natural law--which is something the educational elites no longer believe in or feel they have the power to change.
"True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrong-doing by its prohibitions. And it does not lay its commands or prohibitions upon good men in vain, though neither have any effect on the wicked. It is a sin to try to to [sic] alter this law, nor is it allowable to attempt to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is, God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator, and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst penalties, even if he escapes what is commonly considered punishment.

12:44 PM  
Blogger Joel_Grant said...

I live near Seattle and am a leftist and atheist who disagrees with John about almost everything (we do agree that Oswald is the lone assassin). But I totally agree with John on this one, the idea that this topic should not be discussed because people might disagree is absurd and suspending John for a blog post about the subject is Kafkaesque.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Jimpithecus said...

This is really unfortunate. It is difficult for me to believe that your average person would not view this policy as Stalinist in nature.This is what happens when the left completely takes over the academy.

1:19 PM  
Blogger frankly said...

Sorry, dude, but you were bullying a grad student. Pure and simple, and as a Marquette grad, I congratulate the administration for their action.

2:45 PM  
Blogger jack said...

"an “investigation” constitutes a form of harassment"

Perhaps they should refer to it as a "fact finding mission". Who could possibly object to that?

2:55 PM  
Blogger pons said...

Hang in there.

4:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

It's always the same , John : the liberal left proclaims belief in freedom of speech , but only if it agrees with their agenda.
Good luck and when time permits , let us know what is happening with the alt.assassination.jfk NG.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Ann Margaret Lewis said...

Dr. McAdams, in case you need legal representation for this case, you should know (if you don't already) that there is legal precedent in your favor. Dr. Mike Adams (interesting that you would have similar names) of the UNC Wilmington won a case recently against his university. You might check out <a href="> The Alliance Defending Freedom's information on the case here</a>. In a lawsuit, Marquette U would lose.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Kyle said...

It is certainly within Marquette's right as a private university to suspend a faculty member for make antagonistic and critical remarks about fellow faculty members. The proof is on prof. McAdam's blog, the blog itself is seemingly seeking to censure the university as a whole, even the description in the header is less than friendly. As a business owner I would not be pleased if members of my staff were publicly criticizing the company. Therefore, I do not disagree with the university's decision to suspend McAdam's.

However, I do not agree with Abbate's actions in the classroom and toward her student. If an investigation is being conducted, which I can only assume it is, and they find this story to be true then she should be reprimanded and/or suspended as well. However, so far, very little evidence has been provided to corroborate the events that took place in Abbate's classroom, other than the word of the student in question and McAdam's subsequent blog post. This is hardly enough evidence to justify McAdam's vilification of Abbate.

9:35 PM  
Blogger muwarriorsfan said...

Graduated from MU in 90, and haven't given anything to them since they dropped the Warriors name. But I will happily donate to your efforts against this Leftist institution if they terminate you.

10:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What can current students and parents of current students do? I understand that college students need to take responsibility for their actions, but having parents speak can add a lot of influence. My whole family, and even cousins and other family members have supported you. They don't or didn't even go to MU. We read your posts and have family discussions about it. You have been the leader for our family on campus. It is terribly sad to see the administration act the way they have. Please let us know what we can do to help. You have been our sole leader on campus.

11:11 PM  
Blogger Eric Rasmusen said...

Businesses do work differently---though note that union workers frequently criticize their company and the law prevents their being fired. It is very common in universities for faculty and low-level staff to criticize their employer, without any punishment whatsoever. A high administrator--- a dean, say-- is expected not to, and probably would be fired if he did, but the norm is that others are free to criticize.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Eric Rasmusen said...

Actually, here's how the method works. First you are suspended. Then you are fired. The firing is an obvious violation of your contract rights under tenure, so you sue for damages. The university then offers you, say, $500,000 to go away in return for not discussing the case with anyone. The university administrators are then happy, you are happy, and it is only the university faculty, students, and alums and the rest of the world who are unhappy. Please don't accept the money. Announce how much has been offered to you, and get it on tape if that's legal in Wisconsin. Maybe you can also use the offer in court if you have a bench trial (I'm pretty sure you couldn't if it's a jury trial.)

7:56 AM  
Blogger dds said...

This PC totalitarianism has got to STOP

This is a disgusting abrogation of academic freedom and the basis of a university--- the free discussion of all ideas.

Why is this woman doing the censoring not held accountable?

4:45 PM  
Blogger The Alaskan Adventure Continues said...

I graduated in 1985, and like other posters here, have not given money to Marquette for precisely this reason. MU lost its Catholic character long ago when it built that "chapel" in the new union. I, too, will be happy to support Dr. McAdams with monetary resources. Go Warriors...

4:59 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

I agree with Kyle (above) on all points. Well said.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Reality101 said...

It's crazy to me how something so small was blown out of proportion! Student wanted to discuss his views against same-sex marriage. Instructor told the student that it might hurt other students' feelings. And then everyone had to shit their pants! Big deal! Want to talk against the issue - go on Facebook, go on Twitter, talk to your classmates in the hallway. Who cares? It is the instructor's decision how to run her class. In turn, she could have allowed the student to talk against the issue. Then another person in the class would have gotten offended and shit THEIR pants! Unbelievable how weak people became.

To make things worse, another professor goes and creates an even bigger drama on his blog, talking crap about his coworkers and his place of business. Gets the attention of the media, which gets attention of a bunch of morons from the Westboro Baptist Church. Now students have to deal with bunch of brainwashed zombies walking around on campus harassing people with their idiotic slogans. Seriously??!!

So you shit where you eat and you are surprised that you get suspended? In another place of business this would be a norm. You are just an exception to the rule because you are part of a union and have a contract with the university. In other places employees get fired for even expressing their ideologies on social media....

This entire thing is just ridiculous... People need to get thicker skin.

10:22 PM  
Blogger Dr. Timothy J. Williams said...

Thank goodness I teach at a REAL Catholic university, where I am free to present authentic Catholic arguments on campus without fear of retribution from a politically correct administration.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Clear Waters said...

Your conduct during this entire debacle has been admirable, sir.

4:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dr. McAdams,

As a former student of yours, I learned more from two semesters with you than I did from the entire political science department in four years. I (and so many others) stand with you as you fight the ridiculous bureaucracy that Marquette has apparently become. Fight the good fight.

Alexa Porter '13

4:13 PM  
Blogger Toiletduck said...

Prof. McAdams

I'll begin by saying that situations such as this are rarely black-and-white, and there are multiple sides to every story. It's up to the public to read/listen to ll and make an educated interpretation of the event in its entirety.

Having said that, and having read extensively, I applaud you. In the 1990s I was at the University of Delaware, which was then and still is a bastion of "protecting diversity", read: preserving one's culture to the fullest extent while intimating that there is no "American" culture into which one can assimilate. To do or say anything at all that could even be perceived as attacking that status or offending the members. But if you didn't have a "protected status" (white Christians, Jewish, or atheist, heterosexual, American men), you had no such rights. So the LGBT group could post posters around campus saying "my brother can lick your brother" with graphic photographs of, well, brothers licking, that was fine. Write an editorial opposing such signs, not fine. It has only gotten worse. A friend at UD more recently wanted to research something about the evolution of American language dialects, and was told the University had no placed for such "racist topics". really?

If the statistics are true it isn't shocking that the majority of educated people tend to be liberals. That's what happens when Higher Ed is largely a liberal community. I used to espouse liberal concepts but then I realized it was okay to ask questions and when I did, the truth was pretty. So I would say that academia needs people like who call BS on people like Cheryl Abbate and the school adninistrators. We need college profs like you to challenge kids tho look beneath the surface and think, not just react to what they see or are told.

Thank you for what you are doing. I assume they didn't talk to you prior to suspending you, whivch is knid of a no-no in harrassment investigations. I hope you are planningo n at least filing a grievance. but good luck and keep up what you do...we eeed it.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

First, with respect to the comment from the current graduate student, your word choice is a reflection of your limited understanding of the real issue. By the way, it is freedom of speech.

Second, since you took a jab at not only Abbate's teaching, but the entire humanities department save one professor, I am not surprised the University has suspended you. I wonder if the also suspended the education professor for her rebuttal? If the environment is that sensitive, she too should be suspended. If not, I might argue the University is biased and discriminatory.

Third, please set up a legal defense fund should you find them necessary.

Fourth, and lastly, this is merely left wing bullying because you called them out for not following the traditions and precepts of the Church and the University. It is them that are creating a hostile workplace if the truth cannot be discussed.


2:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The fact that Holz sent the “harassment policy” suggests that somebody thinks that merely blogging about questionable conduct by a ...

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stand by your guns but watch what you say on your blog or in public.

Evidently the courts are now quite willing to consider what you say or write - about a legal situation -

as proof that you really think x or y and thus intended z when you wrote nothing of the sort.

Whatever happened to Free Speech ?

10:01 PM  
Blogger Bill said...

@George Watson: Free Speech? How did the government abridge his free speech?

10:35 PM  

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