A tenured Marquette University political science professor has been officially barred from campus and suspended for writing a blog post criticizing a philosophy instructor who refused to allow a conservative student to debate the topic of gay marriage in her classroom.
The suspended professor, John McAdams, received a letter on Tuesday from Richard Holz, the dean of the Wisconsin school, informing him of his suspension.
“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,” reads Holz’s letter.
While McAdams’ salary and benefits will not change, he was told that he would have to contact Holz directly before he could visit the campus again. Holz also provided a copy of the school’s harassment police.
He’s not completely sure, since, as of Wednesday morning, Holz has not provided McAdams with specifics, but he speculates that it is a response to a Nov. 9 blog post McAdams wrote in which he criticized philosophy department instructor Cheryl Abbate.
A male student contacted McAdams to tell him that during class one day, Abbate broached the topic of gay rights. But rather than discuss the issue further, Abbate said “everybody agrees on this, and there is no need to discuss it.”
The student, who recorded the encounter, approached Abbate after class to ask why gay rights and gay marriage were off limits.
According to McAdams, Abbate told the student that topics like gay marriage would not be discussed because gay students might find it offensive and because, she said, “you don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments.”
According to McAdams, Abbate then suggested that the student drop the class, which he later did.
In his blog post, McAdams criticized Abbate’s actions, as well as the political climate at the Marquette, which McAdams says is steeped in political correctness.
“Abbate, of course, was just using a tactic typical among liberals now,” wrote McAdams, adding that “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 wrote that “groups not favored by leftist professors, of course, can be freely attacked, and their views [or supposed views] ridiculed.”
McAdams, a graduate of Harvard University, further argued that there is a “free fire zone where straight white males are concerned.”
“Like the rest of academia, Marquette is less and less a real university. And when gay marriage cannot be discussed, certainly not a Catholic university,” McAdams concluded in that first blog post, which appeared at his site, Marquette Warrior.
In a post at the site Right Wisconsin published on Wednesday, McAdams responded to his suspension and banishment, writing that the harassment charge “is strange because, the only thing I’ve ever done that threatens people at Marquette is blogging.”
“I can do that at home,” he wrote.
McAdams did say that Holz will allow him to venture on campus in order to complete a manuscript due to a publisher by early next year.
“Marquette’s harassment policy is absurdly vague and includes ‘behavior is intimidating, hostile or demeaning or could or does result in mental, emotional or physical discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule or harm,'” wrote McAdams.
“That’s right, even mental discomfort [which should be a normal part of having one’s opinions challenged in a university] is considered harassing.” (RELATED: Columbia Law School Students Will Be Allowed To Postpone Final Exams Over Grand Jury Decisions)
Likening the campus banishment to “being treated like a potential terrorist,” McAdams wrote that he has been accused of sexual harassment in the past after he told “an entire class of feminists” that the incidence of college date rape was grossly exaggerated.
In a radio interview with WTMJ on Wednesday, McAdams spoke further about what he believes are the root causes of his suspension.
“I’ve made a fair number of enemies, particularly among the politically-correct types at Marquette, who are particularly concentrated in the philosophy department, by blogging about some of their more outrageous activities,” said McAdams, citing an incident involving Nancy Snow.
Snow, he said, “tried to shut a student up” during a debate in her philosophy of law class about racial profiling when he tried to argue from police officers’ point of view.
According to McAdams, Snow made the student write a letter of apology to the two black students in the class.
“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,” McAdams wrote.
Holz was not available for comment. Marquette’s media relations department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.