Jesuit Marquette University Suspends Professor over Same-Sex Marriage Debate

Matthew Hendricks/Wikipedia
Matthew Hendricks/Wikipedia

John McAdams, a conservative professor at Marquette University, has been suspended after criticising a fellow lecturer for refusing to allow same-sex marriage to be debated in class. The suspension will be extended indefinitely unless McAdams “admits his guilt” within two weeks.

In a blog post, McAdams drew attention to an incident in which a student was told to by instructor Cheryl Abbate to leave her philosophy class if he wished to debate same-sex marriage or adoption by gay couples.

According to McAdams:

Then things deteriorated further as the student said that it was his right as an American citizen to make arguments against gay marriage. Abbate replied that “you don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments.”

She further said she would “take offense” if the student said that women can’t serve in particular roles. And she added that somebody who is homosexual would experience similar offense if somebody opposed gay marriage in class.

She went on “In this class, homophobic comments, racist comments, will not be tolerated.” She then invited the student to drop the class.

After the student complained to two university deans and the chair of the Philosophy Department, McAdams said the Chair “pretty much blew off the issue.” According to McAdams, the student is now dropping his class with Abbate.

“Like the rest of academia, Marquette is less and less a real university,” concluded McAdams.

In response, a Faculty Hearing Committee unanimously recommended that McAdams be suspended for a period of one-to-two semesters. University President Michael Lovell agreed to suspend McAdams, but added a further condition that was not included in the Committee’s recommendations: McAdams will only be reinstated at the end of his suspension if he admits “guilt” in making the blog post.

Speaking to Campus Reform, McAdams said he had no intention of complying with Lovell’s demand.

“I think this is a ploy on Lovell’s part to get me fired because he knows I won’t do any of that,” McAdams said. “This is reminiscent of the Inquisition, or the Stalinist show trials of the 1930’s. Basically, he added that on as a ploy to give him an excuse for firing him [sic], and of course I’m not going to apologize.”

McAdams now intends to file a lawsuit against the University for violating his statutory rights.

“They’re a private university, but they say in their statutes that I have the same rights that are incorporated in the First Amendment,” he explained. “Every faculty member has a contract incorporating those statutes.”

“The problem is, while I think I would win in the end, lawsuits can take a long time, and I think Marquette is willing to spend to fight me,” McAdams said to Campus Reform. “I would expect a major lawsuit would be well into six figures for them, but they’re probably willing to spend it. My lawyers, on the other hand, are working pro bono.”

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