Thursday, January 29, 2015

John McAdams: AAUP Letter to Marquette

Gregory F. Scholtz, Associate Secretary and Director, Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance of the American Association of University Professors, sent a letter to Marquette University President Michael Lovell, expressing concern over the suspension of John McAdams.

The letter from Scholtz appears on the Academe Blog.

He writes:

We understand that, as of this writing, Professor McAdams’s suspension remains in effect and that the administration has given no indication of when it will end.

As you are doubtless aware, our Association’s interest in the case of Professor McAdams stems from its commitment to fundamental tenets of academic freedom, tenure, and due process articulated in the 1940 Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure. That document was jointly formulated by the AAUP and the Association of American Colleges and Universities and has been endorsed by more than 240 scholarly groups and higher-education organizations.

...Given the facts reported to us, it is difficult to see how members of the academic community would perceive Professor McAdams’s continuing to teach as constituting a “threat of immediate harm” to himself or others. Nor are we aware of the administration’s having consulted a duly constituted faculty body at Marquette University about the propriety of the suspension or its conditions.

The information in our possession concerning the case of Professor McAdams has come to us primarily from him, and we appreciate that you may have other information that would contribute to our understanding of what has occurred. We would therefore welcome your comments. Assuming the essential accuracy of the foregoing account, we would urge you to reach an arrangement with Professor McAdams which will return him to his teaching responsibilities rather than to allow his suspension to linger on indefinitely, an untenable situation that assumes the characteristics of a summary dismissal.
Michael Lovell has a big problem here.

Did he think professors across the country would circle the wagons and support the attempt to punish a conservative academician?

Did he think his outrageous behavior in terms of the inexcusable treatment of Dr. McAdams would be considered acceptable by the academic community?

I assume that's the case.

Big mistake.

Donald Downs, political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a renowned advocate for defending free speech on the university campus, has also contacted Lovell.

McAdams has reprinted his letter in its entirety on the Marquette Warrior blog.

I am writing to express my concern about how Marquette University has handled the case of Professor John McAdams. As of this writing, Professor McAdams remains suspended, which entails being barred from campus and prohibited from interacting with any students. These are substantial penalties that typically are reserved for the most severe cases.

My main concern in the case is very straightforward. As others around the country have publicly expressed, the due process aspects of the case have been very problematic from the start.

...I sincerely hope that the suspension of Professor McAdams is in no way related to the fact that he has publicly criticized the way the University has dealt with harassment training and free thought on campus. Unfortunately, the severity of the punishment, in conjunction with the due process problems associated with the infliction of this sanction, raise questions in this regard.

With all due respect, I urge you and the University to take the concerns others and I have raised into genuine consideration.
I wonder how much longer Lovell is going to allow this matter to linger.

He loses more and more credibility with each passing day.

It is becoming apparent to me that Michael Lovell is not a worthy president of Marquette University.

Alumni need to join the AAUP and distinguished professors around the country in expressing their concern.

At present, Marquette University is not listening.

John McAdams remains BANNED from campus. BANNED!

Good grief! That is unacceptable.

When you're wrong, it's best to acknowledge that fact.

Lovell needs to right the wrong.

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