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In letter to tenured professor John McAdams, Marquette officials say they’ve begun the process of firing him

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John McAdams

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — FOX6 News has learned that Marquette University has begun the process of firing tenured political science professor John McAdams from the university. McAdams announced this development on his blog on Wednesday evening, February 4th.

McAdams posted a copy of a letter issued to him by Richard Holz, Marquette University College of Arts & Sciences Dean.

The 15-page letter dated January 30th, 2015 includes the following statement:

Therefore, in accord with Section 307.03, we are commencing as of this date the procedures for revoking your tenure and dismissing you from the faculty.

This move comes after all of McAdams’ second semester classes at MU were cancelled, and he was placed on paid suspension as university officials began an “in-depth review” of McAdams’ actions after he blogged about an incident occurring in a philosophy class back in November 2014.

In November, McAdams wrote about the incident — saying a graduate student teaching the class didn’t allow a discussion against same-sex marriage to occur.

Then, the controversial Westboro Baptist Church organized a protest on Marquette’s campus, and countless letters, complaints and emails were sent to Marquette University and McAdams from folks across the country.

“At least 100 emails of support — and a few, a small handful of nasty, unkind emails,” McAdams said.

Marquette officials wouldn’t speak directly about McAdams’ suspension — but they did issue a statement earlier this month:

“The safety of our students and campus community is our top priority. The university has a policy in which it clearly states that it does not tolerate harassment and will not stand for faculty members subjecting students to any form of abuse, putting them in harm’s way. We take any situation where a student’s safety is compromised extremely seriously.

We want to emphasize that all of our graduate student teaching assistants are students first. When concerns are raised that a line has been crossed, it is our responsibility to take action and conduct a review.

It is important to note that under faculty conduct rules, a professor would not be subject to a review of this nature simply for voicing an opinion. The university has expectations of conduct, specifically as they relate to the faculty-student relationship. When concerns are raised that a line has been crossed, it is our responsibility to take action and conduct a review.

The university is continuing its in-depth review and considering all appropriate responses.”

A blog called the “Daily Nous” reports Cheryl Abbate, the graduate student who was talked about in McAdams’ blog post left Marquette University.

FOX6 News reached out to McAdams, who says he plans to fight his termination.

The letter sent to him says that he can file an appeal:

If you file a timely objection, we will of course provide the conferences outlined in Section 307.05 and thereafter, if necessary, proceed with the Faculty Hearing Committee process under Section 307.07. You of course will be provided all the process to which you are due.

Marquette University issued this statement late Wednesday:

Dear Marquette community,

In light of media coverage triggered by information Associate Professor John McAdams shared publicly, it is important that I share additional perspective with you. While we will not discuss details of personnel matters, I can inform you that the university’s review process is now complete. Professor McAdams has been advised of the action that the university intends to take as a result. Until all procedures required under university rules and policies are complete, we will not publicly disclose further details. I do, however, want to reinforce important principles that I have discussed previously that will be at the forefront of our efforts going forward.

The decisions here have everything to do with our Guiding Values and expectations of conduct toward each other and nothing to do with academic freedom, freedom of speech, or same-sex marriage. As I noted in my recent Presidential Address, our Guiding Values were drafted with extensive input from our campus community to keep us all accountable and to provide the foundation for a collegial environment based on mutual respect.

As your president, I assure you of my full support for academic freedom. My academic experiences are rooted in my time as a tenured faculty member, where I saw first-hand the great privileges and responsibilities bestowed upon me and my academic colleagues.

Debate and intense discussion are at the heart of who we are as a university, but they must be balanced with respect – our Catholic faith and Jesuit tradition demand nothing less. There are dozens of ways disagreements can be handled with respect and civility on campus, many of which are outlined in our handbooks. And, there are dozens of ways a professor can productively help a student learn and grow.

We must always remember that academic freedom must be grounded in integrity, be accurate at all times and show respect for others’ opinions. When these standards are not met, the power of tenure can abuse and silence our students – the very minds we are seeking to cultivate, grow and ultimately transform.

In closing, you have my promise that the safety and well-being of our students will come first in every decision I make as president of this great university.

Michael R. Lovell

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  • opinin8d

    What a bunch of BS by Marquette. Once again, it’s only bullying if your on the ‘wrong’ side of the arguement. It’s okay for a Teacher (TA) -who is also a student, to squash debate and ‘wrong thinking’ but heaven forbid, that someone call attention to that teacher (TA/student -used lightly). What the hell is wrong with people?? Why is it the left gets to define what’s okay?

  • R

    Can marquette drop any pretension in the fact they’re no longer a catholic unoversity and just another liberal doublespeak utopia?

    Students are protected from criticism! Even when they’re standing in front of a room full of students leading the class!

  • AG

    For those tempted to claim that Marquette is no longer a Catholic university, please consider spending some time with Pope John Paul II’s Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the full text of which is translated into English and available online here: Very short version: Catholic education is founded on the principle of respect and love; when we love others, even those with whom we disagree, we honor God.

    • TK421

      This not just a Catholic principal, it is the foundation of a Christian lifestyle. I do realize that often only Catholics think they are the only Christians to grasp this concept, where actually I have witnessed it to be the opposite….they often say one one thing, to the public, but then practice something very different in private. If Marquette believed in this guiding principal, this professor would not be fired.

    • grunt

      WDS (Walker Derangement Syndrome).
      I believe it is Dear Leader that takes money from a private entity when it disagrees with him (see IRS scandal, among others).

    • Bbgo

      Did you even read the article?? She was receiving threats and letters, delivered to her CAMPUS mailbox, saying she should abort herself.

  • Tom Lenz

    Marquette – like most every college and University – has become a bastion of Left wing Fascism and intellectual cowardice. And all the liberals are in high-dudgeon at the Governor’s proposal to reign in the sprialing costs of Academia?

  • Greg Burnham

    John McAdams has long demonstrated his disdain for free thinking individuals who dare to reject the “lone gunman lie” in defiance of political correctness. I do not object to his self described mission as a “debunker” by nature. However, I do object to his abandonment of critical thinking as well as his boorish, bullying treatment of those with whom he disagrees. That he targeted a student teacher with his vitriolic abuse is par for the course. That I easily defeated him in a moderated debate on The Paul Garson Radio Show over a decade ago indicates that his tactics are not nearly as effective when he attempts to “pick on someone his own size” rather than on one who occupies a subordinate position.

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