Marquette University Suspends Tenured Professor After He Criticized Instructor Who Prohibited Student From Discussing Gay Marriage Opposition

St. Joan of Arc Chapel located on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis.
St. Joan of Arc Chapel located on the campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. | (Photo: Wikipedia)

Marquette University has suspended a tenured political science professor after he blogged about his disapproval of the actions of a teaching assistant at the Catholic school, who forbade a student from discussing an opposing view to gay marriage in her class.

Associate Professor John McAdams' suspension with pay comes as Marquette University has begun requiring its faculty to attend anti-harassment training, where they are instructed to report any employee that speaks out in opposition to gay marriage.

In November, McAdams criticized teaching assistant Cheryl Abbate in a blog post because she prevented a student from discussing his opinion on gay rights in her "Theory of Ethics" class. He described in his blog that Abbate told the student after class that any opposition to gay marriage is to be considered offensive speech and will not be tolerated in her class. Abbate then told the student that if he disagreed with her, he could drop the class.

"Abbate, of course, was just using a tactic typical among liberals now," McAdams wrote. "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."

McAdams was informed in a letter by Dean Richard Holz on Tuesday that he was to be suspended and banned from the campus while his actions are now under investigation.

"You are relieved of all teaching duties and all other faculty activities. You are to remain off campus during that time," Holz wrote in the letter to McAdams, who has taught at Marquette for over 37 years.

Although Holz did not name a specific reason as to why McAdams was being suspended, McAdams assumes it was because somebody, possibly Abbate, complained about his blog post.

"It would be odd to be charged with harassing someone by reporting something accurately on my blog," McAdams told Fox News' Todd Starnes. "A lot of politically correct faculty have wanted my head on a pike."

As was reported last week, all faculty members at the university are now being instructed to report any fellow co-workers who are voicing opposition to same-sex marriage. School employees are required to watch a training video that labels any form of anti-homosexual talk as a form of harassment and encourages the faculty to report such speech. It is possible that any number of individuals at the school, who have read McAdams' blog post, could have reported it to University administration.

"Although employees have free speech rights under the United States Constitution, in academic and other workplaces those rights are limited when they infringe upon another person's right to work in an environment free of unlawful harassment," the school's anti-harassment training video, produced by the Texas-based Workplace Answers, asserts.

The university also released a statement to a local Fox News affiliate explaining the professor's suspension and insinuates that the suspension relates to a "personal attack."

"As stated in our harassment policy, the university will not tolerate personal attacks or harassment of or by students, faculty and staff," the statement says. "To be clear, we will take action to address those concerns. We deplore hatred and abuse directed at a member of our community in any format."

Additionally in his blog post, McAdams criticized the school and deemed it "not a Catholic university" for not permitting discussion and debate on gay marriage in class.

"How many students, especially in politically correct departments like Philosophy, simply stifle their disagreement, or worse yet get indoctrinated into the views of the instructor, since those views are the only ideas allowed, and no alternative views are aired?" McAdams asked. "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."

Enclosed in Holz's letter to McAdams was a copy of the university's harassment policy. In a blog post in response to his suspension and the letter from Holz, McAdams criticized the school's harassment policy for being very vague.

"The fact that Holz sent the 'harassment policy' suggests that somebody thinks that merely blogging about questionable conduct by a Philosophy instructor constitutes 'harassment,'" McAdams wrote. "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.'"

McAdams added that because Holz's letter did not specifically address the incident for what he was being suspended for, the university has violated its own policy, which requires the school to inform a violator of the specifics of their violation and of any witnesses against the faculty member.

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