25.3.16

RECANT OR BE EXCOMMUNICATED.

In December, 2014, Marquette University banished political scientist John "Marquette Warrior" McAdams for bringing public attention to a dispute between a student and a graduate assistant over what could or could not be raised in class.  The university president subsequently sought dismissal for cause.  The relevant faculty committee completed its deliberations last fall, but university president Michael Lovell held off on action until the Warriors were eliminated from the basketball tournament, and most attention in the state is on Wisconsin.

Unsurprisingly, we have more administrative arbitrariness.  Here's how the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, allied with Professor McAdams, characterizes the president's behavior.
Today, the University ignored that its almost sixteen-month suspension of Dr. McAdams was improper. While it followed the recommendation that he be suspended, it also imposed a requirement that, within two weeks, he admit his “guilt.” If he refuses to do so, he will not be reinstated. Such a requirement of self-abasement and compelled speech was not recommended by the Faculty Hearing Committee.

The Committee found that Marquette had improperly suspended Dr. McAdams in violation of his due process rights under the Faculty Statutes and disagreed with the University’s desire to terminate him. It did recommend that he be suspended for one to two semesters, with benefits, but without pay.

In its lengthy report, the Faculty Hearing Committee gave lip service to academic freedom but made it subject to a multi-factor after-the-fact balancing test that would leave members of the university with no real guidance or protection other than the sufferance of their colleagues. In other words, University faculty retain freedom of speech only so far as their colleagues are willing to tolerate it.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes that President Lovell has done nothing to change Marquette's status among the worst schools for free speech.  It's fitting, I suppose, that a university notionally run by Jesuits would continue a tradition dating back to the Diet of Worms.  Today, though, the #HolyInquisition can be trending on Twitter.

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