ON-Lion Letter

In December, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) in Milwaukee asked Marquette University to abide by its own rules and to honor its commitment to academic freedom.  On behalf of its client, Marquette political-science professor John McAdams, WILL sent a letter to Marquette raising serious legal issues with how it has treated him.

McAdams recently received a letter from the Dean of the College of Letters and Science relieving him from his duties as a tenured member of Marquette's faculty, banning him from campus and from any activity that would cause him to come into contact with any member of the Marquette community.  The letter to McAdams offered no explanation of what he is alleged to have done or how it might violate any of the university's rule and regulations.  When McAdams asked for an explanation, he received no reply.

Suspending a faculty member without specification of what he or she has done wrong and the process for contesting the suspension violates Marquette's Faculty Statutes.  As WILL put it, the letter to McAdams says only that "he is being investigated for some unnamed event that might violate some unidentified requirement of the university to be found somewhere in one of several documents enclosed with the letter."  While Marquette now claims that McAdams has not been suspended because "suspension" means "without pay," its Faculty Statutes say otherwise.  All suspensions are with pay.

"When someone does not want to follow the rules or explain what he is doing, it's generally a sign of a deeper problem," said WILL president and general counsel Rick Esenberg.  In this case, the problem seems to be the failure of the university to abide by its own guarantees of academic freedom.

Subsequent statements from the university have made clear that the basis for the suspension is a blog post in which McAdams publicly criticized a graduate instructor in the philosophy department for telling a student that opposition to same-sex marriage would be not be tolerated in her class because it would be considered offensive and homophobic.  McAdams expressed the view that such statements were consistent with a regrettable trend to dismiss disfavored views out of hand as "offensive" rather than debate them on the merits.

Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation substantially supports WILL.

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |