19.12.14

MARQUETTE'S ADMINISTRATION BECLOWNS ITSELF

Although Marquette's John McAdams is still serving his non-suspension suspension (better not to be drinking coffee and reading the administrative circumlocutions) he's not silent.  Perhaps the reason the REMFs refuse to call his situation a suspension is that a suspension has procedural obligations.
In all cases of nonrenewal, suspension, or termination for absolute or discretionary cause, except Section 307.02(1) and (3), death, and permanent, total disability, the appropriate appointing authority of the University shall notify the faculty member in writing of the University's action.
Of what follows: nothing.
In fact, all of Section 1 was violated by the letter of suspension we got, which did not specify the statute allegedly violated, the date of the alleged violation, the location of the alleged violation, and any of the supposed facts of the violation.

Since this was about a blog post, there were plenty of witnesses, but none of them were named.

We were also told that the “university is continuing to review your conduct” but were not told the nature of any “contemplated action.”

Did university officials rattle off the letter without consulting counsel?

Did they think they could blow off their published rules? In any legal action, Marquette’s failure to follow its own rules will have negative consequences.
Readers of a certain age will understand that there don't have to be published rules for Double Secret Probation.  "Under review, with pay" might come under that rubric.

There's more at Inside Higher Ed.
Brian Dorrington, a university spokesman, said via email that he could reveal some information about McAdams’s case, given that he “has shared his personnel information on his public blog.”

Dorrington said that Marquette has been reviewing since last month “both a concern raised by a student and a concern raised by a graduate student teaching assistant. While this review continues, [McAdams] has been relieved of his teaching duties and other faculty duties. His salary and benefits will continue during the course of the review.”

The spokesman also pointed to a Nov. 22 memo – sent days after the story broke -- from President Michael R. Lovell to faculty, staff and students affirming the university’s commitment to “respect, professionalism and academic freedom.”

“I believe all these values must be present if we as a community are able to have productive discussions, even in the midst of disagreements,” Lovell said in his letter. “This is a matter of official policy, but it’s also a matter of our values. Respect is at the heart of our commitment to the Jesuit tradition and Catholic social teaching.”

Lovell added: “We are dedicated to uphold academic freedom and to maintain an environment in which the dignity and worth of each member of our community is respected, especially students. We deplore hatred and abuse directed at a member of our community in any format.”
That might play well among the administrators, but as an academic principle, it's weak.
Universities, it seems to me, shouldn’t just take the most liability-avoiding, speech-restrictive position in such situations — if they want to continue being taken seriously as places where people are free to investigate, debate and challenge orthodox views. A professor at Marquette (not Prof. McAdams) tells me: “[T]he new harassment training, which McAdams mentions on his blog and which we as faculty all had to go through this fall, has a chilling quality to it, … then basically urging people, when in doubt, to refrain from expression.” A sad thing to see at a university.
Particularly because "when in doubt" and "teach the controversies" have non-empty intersections.

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