Marquette University Intends to Fire Tenured Conservative Professor

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/AFP
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images/AFP

The Dean of Marquette University has told conservative professor John McAdams that the university has begun the process of revoking his tenure and firing him.

In a lengthy letter, Dean Richard Hotz told McAdams, “…your conduct clearly and substantially fails to meet the standards of personal and professional excellence that generally characterizes University faculties. As a result, your value to this academic institution is substantially impaired.”

For years McAdams has been a conservative thorn in the side of liberal Marquette. On his Marquette Warrior blog, he has chronicled the liberal foibles of Marquette faculty, staff and students.

At issue this time was a blog post McAdams published last November 9th in which he described a classroom situation where Cheryl Abbate, a junior faculty member, shut down a student who wanted to discuss his opposition to same-sex marriage because she considered it an unacceptable topic in her ethics class and would be on par with a discussion favoring racism or sexism. She also said such a discussion would offend any gay students in class.

The student confronted the teacher after class, secretly recording her as she confirmed her belief that opposition to gay marriage and adoption was not an appropriate topic for classroom discussion. She said, “You can have whatever opinions you want but I can tell you right now, in this class homophobic comments, racist comments, and sexist comments will not be tolerated.” She then suggested he drop the class.

On his Marquette Warrior blog, McAdams wrote, “Abbate, of course, was just using a tactic typical among liberals now. Opinions with which they disagree are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed ‘offensive’ and need to be shut up.”

He went on, “Of course, only certain groups have the privilege of shutting up debate. Things thought to be ‘offensive’ to gays, blacks and women and so on must be stifled.” He pointed out that “Groups not favored by leftist professors, of course, can be freely attacked, and their views (or supposed views) ridiculed.”

Shortly afterwards the university suspended McAdams from teaching and having any interaction with faculty, staff, or students. He posted that the liberal university would then try to fire him, which has now happened.

In his letter, which McAdams describes as “irate” and “full of poor arguments and factual misstatements,” Hotz essentially says everything McAdams reported about the incident was wrong and harmful and in violation of University regulations.

Hotz said McAdams published the story without getting Abbate’s permission to use her name, without contacting Abbate’s department chairman, without talking to anyone in her department or the university Provost, and ultimately getting the story factually wrong.

Even though she was a faculty member in this instance, Hotz said McAdams should have viewed Abbate as a student he was to mentor and not criticize.

As a result of McAdam’s blog post, Hotz says Abbate received angry emails and no longer felt “safe” and that the university had to post a security guard outside her classroom. Hotz said Abbate was a victim of McAdams and had to leave the university. Abbate decamped to the Univeristy of Colorado which has a much higher academic ranking in her field than Marquette.

In a lengthy blog post, McAdams counters he got everything correct in his reporting and that university officials have no right to censor his blog, which he says is nothing less than journalism.

He said that Abbate was not a student in the situation but a fellow faculty member and that he had every right to criticize her. He said, since she was not in his department, he was in no position to mentor her and that any approach to her department or university administration would have been met with silence, as happened when The College Fix asked for a comment.

At the end of his blog post, McAdams announced he has hired a public interest law firm to represent him and he will “most certainly not go quietly.”

It should be noted that Marquette is officially a Catholic institution, and the student’s opposition to same-sex marriage and gay adoption is fully in line with the teachings of the Catholic Church.


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