Academic Left Unleashes Fury at Conservative Marquette Professor

Dave Reid / Flickr
Dave Reid / Flickr

Professor John McAdams has not only been suspended by the Marquette University administration, he has also come under fire from liberal academics from around the country and has taken fire from at least one fellow conservative.

McAdams is the tenured professor who criticized about Cheryl Abbate, a junior instructor in philosophy at Marquette who refused to discuss same-sex marriage in an ethics class and later, in a secretly-recorded conversation with a student, compared opposition to same-sex marriage to racism and other forms of bigotry. She told the student that if he didn’t like it, he should get out of her class.

The Marquette faculty and administration accused McAdams of sexual harassment and kicked him off of the campus while they figure out what to do with him. Suspension is an action only one step below dismissal, a measure almost unheard of in academia.

Liberal academics say McAdams harassed Abbate by mentioning her in his blog, Marquette Warrior.

“I have seen the libelous posts made by a tenured professor at Marquette and the misogynistic harassment Ms. Abbate has received as a consequence and feel that that university should act at this point to protect her as both a student and a woman,” said Corey Lee Wrenn, an instructor in sociology at Colorado State University.

Ed Kazarian of the Philosophy and Religious Studies department at Rowan University said he “cannot imagine a universe in which McAdams’ behavior is anything other than grossly inappropriate and unprofessional. The university should also be deeply concerned about the implications of this episode for academic freedom as well as Ms. Abbate’s personal and professional welfare.”

“Professor McAdams’ behavior is unprofessional and counts as bullying not because not because [sic] of the substance of his views on gay rights (which are not even in question), but because it is designed to be both aggressive and intimidating toward a graduate student in a different department, violating the values and traditions of graduate education,” said a doctoral candidate in “public policy and social change” at Union Institute and University.

Mylan Engel, professor of philosophy at Northern Illinois University, said, “[McAdams’] libelous, malicious accusations should be dealt with seriously by [Marquette] university.

Even conservative Matthew Franck, president of the James Madison Program at Princeton University and critic of the LGBT movement, said McAdams should have talked to the junior instructor privately. Franck takes a pox-on-all-their-houses approach, saying the student should not have secretly taped the conversation with Abbate, that Abbate should have allowed a conversation in her class about same-sex marriage and that the administration acted badly in suspending McAdams.

Instructor Abbate says she has come under cyberattack and wants the whole episode to be a teaching moment at Marquette on the issue of cyberbullying.

There seems to have been no discussion at Marquette, a Jesuit school, about an junior instructor ordering that a teaching of the Catholic Church has no place in her classroom.

In November, The Cardinal Newman Society reported on a sexual harassment training video that made clear that even a private discussion critical of same-sex marriage is a form of harassment at Marquette.

A petition has started asking for Marquette to reinstate McAdams.


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