Marquette Warrior: Tomorrow: Our Day in Court

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Tomorrow: Our Day in Court

Tomorrow we go into court to ask for summary judgment in our lawsuit against Marquette. It will be in Judge Hansher’s Courtroom (412 in the Milwaukee County Courthouse at 2:00 p.m. Open to the public). Of course, we have a very strong case, given the contractual guarantees of academic freedom that Marquette provides to all faculty (but doubtless regrets having provided to us).

Marquette claims to be firing us under a “discretionary clause” for supposed “conduct which clearly and substantially fail[s] to meet the standard of personal and professional excellence which generally characterizes University faculties.” But as our lawyers have pointed out, Faculty Statutes (incorporated into our contract with Marquette) hold that:
“[i]n no case, however, shall discretionary cause be interpreted so as to impair the full and free enjoyment of legitimate personal or academic freedom of thought, doctrine, discourse, association, advocacy or action.
dismissal will not be used to restrain faculty members in their exercise of academic freedom or other rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
Marquette has not charged us with any misconduct other than blogging.

What were they thinking? Probably that they could offer us some money and get us to walk away. But that hasn’t worked, and they have doubled down on a very poor legal case, having incurred lawyer’s fees which must now be well into six figures.

All the while increasing tuition, and continuing to beg alumni for money.


For more details on the case, see James Wigderson’s article on Right Wisconsin.

An incisive take on the entire issue can be found on PJ Media. The author, one Tom Knighton, notes that Marquette, at one point, claimed it was firing us for violating Marquette’s “Guiding Values.” The notion that a vague statement of “values” can override black letter contract provisions is bizarre.

But note two of the supposed “Guiding Values:”
  • Nurture an inclusive, diverse community that fosters new opportunities, partnerships, collaboration and vigorous yet respectful debate
  • Live as servant leaders with a commitment to the Jesuit tradition and Catholic social teaching for all people, beliefs and faith traditions (emphasis in original)
Knighton asks:
Please, someone, explain to me how forbidding an opinion shared by a great many Catholics and Jesuits — the faiths Marquette is founded upon, after all — fosters “vigorous yet respectful debate”?
Sure sounds like Marquette has blatantly violated its own Guiding Principles.
He could have added: How can you claim to nurture a commitment to Catholic social teaching when you forbid it being expressed in the classroom.

Marquette has blundered badly in this case. But it’s not a random bit of incompetence. It’s a reflection of the intolerant political correctness and suffuses the Marquette administration.

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Blogger James Pawlak said...

That opposition to Catholic principles is very common in other Jesuit schools AND by the Jesuit Bishop Of Rome.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Good luck. One unintended consequence I can see, is that if you win, the school will remove the language from their contracts that you use in your defense. Also, I can see potential new hires giving second thought in coming to Marquette--I know I would think twice. I would show up for the hearing, but am busy today.

8:26 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

@Unknown Thanks for the support. I doubt Marquette would remove that language, since pretty much all private universities *claim* to support academic freedom. But as my case shows, that language isn't nearly as much a protection as it ought to be.

As for potential hires: they *ought* to have second thoughts. Of course, the hires most likely to do so are conservatives and the (increasingly few) principled liberals. Which is why institutions tend to spiral down into political correctness.

4:50 PM  

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