Marquette Warrior: Another Marquette Falsehood Before Wisconsin Supreme Court

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Another Marquette Falsehood Before Wisconsin Supreme Court

We have already blogged about one falsehood that Marquette lawyer Ralph Weber told to the Wisconsin Supreme Court at our hearing last Thursday: the claim that Cheryl Abbate left Marquette because of the blow-back from our blog post detailing how she insulted and demeaned a student who wanted to express opposition to gay marriage in a class discussion.

In reality, she had wanted to leave Marquette and enter the philosophy graduate program at the University of Colorado the year before. Further, she was unhappy with Marquette’s graduate program.

Judge Michael Gableman thoroughly humiliated Weber on this point.

Was Abbate Disciplined?

Less noticed was a part of the hearing when Gableman asked whether Abbate had violated Marquette’s supposed “Guiding Values,” which Marquette claimed we had transgressed.

Weber admitted that “she could have handled that exchange better, a more experienced teacher would have deescalated the situation . . .” and further that “She was counseled and explained that the way she handled that conversation with the undergraduate . . . [Gableman interrupts, and then] yes, she was counseled.”

This is flatly untrue. As Rick Esenberg has explained (using information gained during “discovery” in our lawsuit):
The student complained to Dr. Susanne Foster in the College of Arts & Sciences, and was sent to the Philosophy Department where he spoke with then-chair Dr. Nancy Snow and Dr. Sebastian Luft. Neither Dr. Snow nor Dr. Luft took any action on behalf of the student. In fact, Dr. Snow referred to him as an “insolent little twerp” in a communication with the College of Arts & Sciences. What Dr. Snow did do was communicate immediately with Ms. Abbate to tell her, in essence, that they had her back. Dr. Snow reported to Ms. Abbate that she told the student that he “needed to change his attitude” and that she would be “monitoring” the situation. Dr. Snow told Ms. Abbate to let her know if the student did anything that Ms. Abbate found objectionable. Ms. Abbate thanked Dr. Snow and said that hopefully the student learned that “oppressive discourse is not acceptable.”
Abbate was, in other words, not some green, inexperienced instructor who needed some tips on how to deescalate a confrontation. She was a politically correct leftist whose suppression of politically incorrect ideas reflected the views of her faculty mentors, and of the leadership of the Marquette Philosophy Department.

See the Entire Hearing

You can see the entire hearing at the website of Wisconsin Eye.

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Blogger Dane Grey said...

I have well over 17 years of college teaching to my credit. I will not cry crocodile tears for Mr. McAdams. He had no business interfering in another instructor's course and classroom management. The graduate student was following the Philosophy Department's guidelines for this ethics course. There was no free for all course discussion for the undergraduate to vent his game on gay marriage. Put simply, the undergraduate was out of bounds with his attempt at intersecting his gay marriage views.

Hence, Mr. MaDame is now paying the piper for overstepping his place.

8:15 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

@Dane Gray: it was not classroom management. It was an instructor who was a bigot. And a bigot who claimed the Catholic position on marriage was "homophobic" and "offensive."

"Classroom management" would be saying "I didn't think it a good use of class time."

I very much doubt you would mind if I had posted about a white instructor who said something racist to a student.

Or a male instructor who sexually harassed a female student.

7:12 PM  
Blogger Dane Grey said...

Knock it off. Save the spin for those who do not know how the academy works. You interferred in another instructor's course. Per that in instructor's course syllabus she was following a principle and not looking for discussion on any points. Next, if you thought the undergrad was being mistreated, you should have taken this up with the Teaching Assistant supervisor and/Department Chair this you did not do. Next, the undergrad in question, your advisee, was failing the instructor's class for not turning in a single aassignment which fact gets to the undergrad's motivation for confronting the ethics instructor. As for procedure, if you did not get satisfaction from the department chair, the dean of the department division is the next stop if still not satisfied the Provost (chief academic officer). None of this you tried to do, so you have no sympathy from me for the hand swatting you have received. Frankly, you interferred in a department outside your discipline which is Political Science. You caused your own maelstrom, no one else. Your last comment above is irrelevant because the instructor above never harassed the undergrad; however, that undergrad went out of his to record the instructor outside of her classroom without her knowledge or consent and is a clear violation of her privacy. Save the sophistry for someone who cares for your intrusion into another instructor's discipline without merit. Classroom management refers to decorum and presentation within course time allowed.

8:21 PM  
Blogger Dane Grey said...

Don't presume to think for me or how I would react. You are setting up strawmen arguments which is a blatant error of logic and reasoning. You overstepped your authority and you are paying the price. Hardly a free speech issue whatsoever.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Thane said...

The only hazing in this incident was perpetuated by you on Ms. Abbate. That sir is unprofessional, hypocritical--you did not use university channels prior to blogging to resolve the issue for your undergrad advisee who went out of his way to make Ms. Abbate the issue--and blantant one-upmanship which is detestable in the academy anywhere, at anytime. Your advisee's conservative views were not part of this picture until you decided not to use the university process and chain of command for resolving the issue. You violated, purposely, Ms. Abbate's academic freedom and place as a doctoral student and teaching assistant. Essentially, your position as a Political Science instructor does not give you, willy-nilly, a blank check to harass another colleague in a discipline that is not your concern.

You violated process, backing your undergrad advisee who was failing the ethics course, not for his conservative views, but because he did not turn in assignments. The simple path here is you did not probe your advisee to get the essential facts of the issue which is most definitely not professional or even professorial.

So, set up all the straw men you like--an error in logic on your part--the bottom line is you created your own snake pit and fell into it.

12:48 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

Seems we have a couple of people who are accusing me of of "violating process."

No journalist is required to fight an uphill secret bureaucratic battle when he finds misconduct. That would be a waste of time, given the sort of administration Marquette has.

Journalist are *not* in the business of concealing misconduct to protect institutions within which misconduct occurs. Abbate did something bigoted and intolerant, and the public had a right to know that could happen at a place like Marquette.

So tell me: suppose a male instructor had sexually harassed a female student, the female had gone to the department chair and dean's office and been blown off.

Should I have blogged about that?

Do you think Abbate did anything wrong?

Is what you *really* believe that Abbate was right to express bigoted attitudes toward the student?

7:59 PM  
Blogger Thane said...

You are not a journalist and have never worked for a major publication as a journalist, reporter, or editor or proofreader. Which is it today? Professor or reporter? You have been suspended from the former and have no work history in the later. No blog is seen as a "publication" in the long history of US Mass Communications Law. So you are a in a snake pit of your own devising. So you don't want to spar with me over your abuse of how higher education works in the world of spates between instructors. That is par for the course with you. Keep in mind that within my years in the academy I have served as an academic administrator. I do not like faculty who misuse the Conservative/Liberal labels. Which gets to just what a true conservative is by the long-standing definitions. Conservatives promote tradition, institutions, and values of the past and are reluctant to have change if something is working. Liberals, not only value tradition and institutions, but welcome changes if those changes make the traditions and institutions more accessible and in keeping with trends.

You did not follow the academic chain of command and academic due process procedure for settling a dispute within the academy. That is the issue and no other.

And, since you are standing behind the pretense of press credentials without folio, you did not disclose your personal conflict of interest in this affair, to wit, that the undergraduate student in this affair was your advisee. That would be a violation of journalistic ethics; can be, and has been, a firing offense at such notable and esteemed publications as The Washington Post, Time, The New York Times, CBS Evening News, in which Dan Rather as Managing Editor, fired Bill O'Reilly a correspondent and weekend anchor for making up a news story and stating outright that he had interviewed the subject of the story that cost him his place at CBS News.

Now, if that academic review commission at Marquette University had not been made up of a cross section of faculty from across the university, I might have been skeptical about its findings amongst other matters involved. But the above is the result of their fact finding. You seem to have forgotten that undergrad's pedigree in relation to you. But not me.

So, do not try the cover of journalist with me. You are no journalist, either by preparations and credentials or by experience. All your trumpeting such will not make it so.

12:33 PM  
Blogger John McAdams said...


You are mostly just spewing, but just to make a few points:

Academics have a right to blog. That's "extramural speech." Any blogger is a journalist. You don't have to have any especial credentials. That's free speech. You don't seem to believe in that.

A blog is most certainly a "publication," even when it publishes things you don't like.

The fact that you have been an administrator reveals a lot.

You have evaded my earlier questions. Please answer them:

So tell me: suppose a male instructor had sexually harassed a female student, the female had gone to the department chair and dean's office and been blown off.

Should I have blogged about that?

Do you think Abbate did anything wrong?

Is what you *really* believe that Abbate was right to express bigoted attitudes toward the student?

4:26 PM  

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