Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Marquette Harasses John McAdams

This is unbelievable.

I am truly shocked that Marquette University has taken such extreme measures to punish Professor John McAdams for writing a blog post outlining an incident on campus.

Yesterday, McAdams shared an email 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


McAdams explains:

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 sends the “harassment policy” suggests that somebody thinks that merely blogging about questionable conduct by a Philosophy instructor constitutes “harassment.”

...Whether Marquette officials really want to punish us for blogging, or whether they simply feel the need for a pro forma “investigation” of changes 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.
To say I'm angry about this is an understatement.

Did Cheryl Abbate receive similar treatment for harassing her student?

Has she been told she is banned from campus, and if a visit is necessary she needs to contact Holz in writing to be granted permission?


It seems that Holz and the university are trying to make it very uncomfortable for McAdams to stay at Marquette. It appears there is an effort to get him to voluntarily move on. That would be a tremendous loss for the rudderless Marquette.

In a previous post, I voiced my concern about supporting an institution purporting to deal in the free exchange of ideas while actually engaging in censorship.

In the past few weeks, we must have received about a dozen phone calls from Marquette, obviously its annual appeal. It's a nightly call. One came in Monday evening and another yesterday. I expect the phone to ring again tonight. I assume Christmas Break (or is it "Winter Break"?) will soon end the annoyance.

In sum, Marquette really wants our money.


This Jesuit university is a joke. Catholic? I don't think so.

I'm ashamed of my connections to the university.

John McAdams has taught at Marquette for at least 30 years. And he's being treated like this, likely because of a blog post detailing a reality at the university???

This is absolutely unreal. It's inexcusable. It's shameful.

Where's Marquette's president, Michael Lovell, on this?

Is he still busy doing the Ice Bucket Challenge?

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