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Banned from campus: Marquette University associate professor “relieved of his teaching duties”

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- A Marquette University associate professor has been "relieved from his teaching duties" and asked to stay off campus. This, after blogging about an incident between another instructor and student in November.

The man at the center of it all -- Professor John McAdams. He recently wrote in his Marquette Warrior blog that philosophy instruct Cheryl Abbate told a student he could not argue against gay marriage in her class. Her comments led to protests by Westboro Baptist Church at Marquette University.

"For the past ten years, I've been free to criticize Marquette and things that happen at Marquette, sometimes the Marquette facility," said McAdams.

But then Tuesday night, December 16th, McAdams received a letter from the dean.

"I got a letter saying I was under investigation, and that I was banned from campus," said McAdams.

McAdams says what he didn't get was an explanation from the university as to what he is actually accused of. Instead, the university released a statement. It reads as follows:

Given that professor John McAdams has shared his personnel information on his public blog, we are sharing the following information:

Last month, Marquette University began reviewing both a concern raised by a student and a concern raised by a graduate student teaching assistant. While this review continues, professor John McAdams has been relieved of his teaching duties and other faculty duties. His salary and benefits will continue during the course of the review.

Our president has been very clear, including in a recent campus-wide letter, about university expectations and Guiding Values to which all faculty and staff are required to adhere, and in which the dignity and worth of each member of our community is respected, especially students.

“This is a matter of official policy, but it is also a matter of our values,” President Michael R. Lovell said in his letter to the campus community. “Respect is at the heart of our commitment to the Jesuit tradition and Catholic social teaching.”

Lovell noted that Marquette listens to any member of the campus community who expresses concerns alleging inappropriate behavior. As stated in our harassment policy, the university will not tolerate personal attacks or harassment of or by students, faculty and staff.

“To be clear, we will take action to address those concerns.” he said. “We deplore hatred and abuse directed at a member of our community in any format.”

The university has protocols in place for students who have concerns related to academic matters or any other issues. Faculty members who express concerns alleging harassment may also refer concerns through standard channels of authority – an associate dean, dean of the college or the provost.

McAdams isn't a stranger to being under his university's microscope. He says he was accused of sexual harassment several years ago after a statement he made in his class. But even then, McAdams says he was never asked to stop teaching or leave campus.

"I don't know what the point of that is. It's as though I was suspected of terrorist activity or something. what in the world is going on there I don't know," said McAdams.

McAdams tells FOX6 News he is not worried about losing his job which he has had for more than 35 years. But he says he does have a lawyer on standby just in case it comes to that.

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