The Volokh Conspiracy

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Volokh Conspiracy

Marquette trying to fire tenured professor who blogged about grad student instructor's suppression of anti-gay-marriage views


Scott Jaschik (Inside Higher Ed) has a detailed report; the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and John K. Wilson (the American Association of University Professors' Academe blog) (writing for himself, not the AAUP) weigh in on Professor John McAdams' side, and both link to relevant documents. I'm at a conference and traveling, but I thought I'd pass along the links, and an excerpt from the Inside Higher Ed post:

A controversial professor on Wednesday revealed that Marquette University is trying to revoke his tenure and fire him for statements he made about a graduate instructor, with her name, on his blog.

The university says his behavior was unprofessional and that he misled the public about what happened in a dispute between the graduate instructor and an undergraduate student. The professor, John McAdams, says he is being punished for his free speech….

In November, McAdams, an associate professor of political science, wrote a blog post accusing a teaching assistant in philosophy of shutting down a classroom conversation on gay marriage based on her own political beliefs. His account was based on a recording secretly made by a disgruntled student who wished that the instructor, Cheryl Abbate, had spent more time in class one day on the topic of gay marriage, which the student opposed. McAdams said Abbate, in not allowing a prolonged conversation about gay marriage, was "using a tactic typical among liberals," in which opinions they disagree with "are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed 'offensive' and need to be shut up."

Abbate said McAdams had distorted her actions—and that she wasn't trying to shut down an argument she disagreed with, but simply had wanted to keep a focus on an in-class conversation about the philosopher John Rawls's equal liberty principle. But conservative blogs spread McAdams' take on the situation—and she found herself receiving a flood of hateful email messages, some of them threatening….

Read the whole Inside Higher Ed post, which gives many more details.