Yes, Marquette Wants to Fire Warrior Blogger
POSTED BY JOHN MCADAMS AT www.mu-warrior.blogspot.com/2016/03/yes-marquette-wants-to-fire-warrior.html
It was announced Thursday, which was (doubtless intentionally) the eve of the Good Friday holiday, and in the middle of March Madness. Marquette has decided how to punish this blogger for a post that revealed how an instructor in the Philosophy Department bullied a student who wanted to express his opposition to gay marriage in class. He was told “you don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments,” and further that it would be “offensive” to any gay students in the class if any such opinion was expressed.
Marquette reacted by telling us we would be stripped of tenure and fired.
After more than a year of legal wrangling and delay, Marquette President Michael Lovell, this past Thursday, sent to the Marquette community the following announcement:
Following the faculty statutes, a Faculty Hearing Committee made up of seven of Professor McAdams’ peers conducted a hearing over a period of four days last September. The committee consisted of a diverse set of tenured faculty members from different academic disciplines. After months of deliberations, the committee issued a thorough 123-page report to my office in January regarding Professor McAdams’ actions. It is noteworthy to mention that the report provided a unanimous recommendation on a path forward regarding the issue under consideration.
Today, I want you to know that after significant personal deliberation, I have decided to formally implement the Faculty Hearing Committee’s unanimous recommendation. While I cannot provide specific details of the recommendation because it relates to a personnel matter, I can assure you that my decision has been guided by Marquette University’s values and is solely based on Professor McAdams’ actions, and not political or ideological views expressed in his blog.
The same day, he announced our punishment in a letter to us:
I have decided to accept your fellow faculty members’ recommendation to suspend you without pay. Your suspension without pay will begin April 1, 2016, and continue through the Fall 2016 semester.
This was bad enough, but what follows is actually worse:
In addition, your return to the faculty on January 17, 2017, for the Spring 2017 semester is conditioned upon you delivering a written statement to the President’s Office by April 4, 2016, the details of which are contained later in this letter.
What statement is demanded?
• Your acknowledgement and acceptance of the unanimous judgment of the peers who served on the Faculty Hearing Committee.
• Your affirmation and commitment that your future actions and behavior will adhere to the standards of higher education as defined in the Marquette University Faculty Handbook, Mission Statement and Guiding Values.
• Your acknowledgement that your November 9, 2014, blog post was reckless and incompatible with the mission and values of Marquette University and you express deep regret for the harm suffered by our former graduate student and instructor, Ms. Abbate.
These demands are reminiscent of the Inquisition, in which victims who “confessed” they had been consorting with Satan and spreading heresy would be spared execution.
It is bizarre that Lovell can invoke Marquette’s “guiding values” to contravene the black letter guarantees of academic freedom embodied in University Statues.
Is free speech a “guiding value” of Marquette? Apparently not. Is protecting students who want to argue for Catholic teaching about marriage from bullying a “guiding value” of Marquette? Apparently, it’s not either. The Philosophy Department treated the student with hostility when he complained. Marquette had no problem with that. Not only was Abbate not even admonished that she had erred, it was conveyed to her that she had done nothing wrong.
But Lovell is downright dishonest in implying that he’s merely implementing the recommendations of the Faculty Hearing Committee. Their report (which is confidential) mentioned nothing about demanding any apology. It only recommended we be suspended without pay for one or two semesters.
It is disappointing that a faculty committee would not side with our academic freedom. But given the amount of politically correct intolerance among faculty these days, the committee’s refusal to go along with our firing was the most that could be expected.
One member of the committee, for example, had signed a statement attacking us. This member refused to recuse himself or herself. Two other members of the committee were overtly hostile during committee hearings.
Then there is the “toady factor.” A lot of faculty are inclined to give a university administration what it wants, since administrators have all kinds of goodies to hand out.
Thus the committee’s “unanimous” report is rather a mess, admitting that we have a right to blog about fellow faculty, and to blog about students, but then recommending that we be suspended for doing so! It bears all the marks of a long series of incoherent compromises between some members who wanted us fired, and others who didn’t.
The addition of a demand that we abase ourself and issue an apology and sign a loyalty oath to vaguely defined “guiding values” and to the University’s “mission” is obviously a ploy by Marquette to give the administration an excuse to fire us. They have calculated, correctly, that we will do no such thing.
But the ploy is absolutely transparent, and won’t mitigate the realization that Marquette is an intolerant, politically correct institution whose “Catholic mission” is nothing but a marketing gimmick.
And an institution whose administrators have badly miscalculated the costs of trying to silence a tenured faculty member who has caused them embarrassment by revealing misconduct at the institution.