Will you join us in defending Marquette Professor John McAdams and free speech on America’s campuses?
Last year, an undergraduate student came to Marquette University Political Science Professor John McAdams with a complaint. The student said a philosophy instructor had told him that a discussion of his opposition to same sex marriage would be considered homophobic and would not be tolerated in her class. A recording of the conversation verified his complaint. This instructor, while a graduate student, was an employee of the university and the sole instructor for the class in question. When the undergraduate expressed his concerns to the Philosophy Department and administration, he was essentially ignored.
John wrote an accurate blog post about what he was told. The post went viral and, while the instructor did receive offensive e-mails from some who read it, John had nothing to with them. In fact, John called the people harassing the instructor “jerks” and has said that their e-mails were “deplorable.” Nevertheless, Marquette summarily suspended him for writing the blog post, in violation of its own Faculty Statutes. It has now extended that suspension and said that he will be fired unless he apologizes and admits that he acted “recklessly” in simply telling the truth about what happened.
This case is not about same-sex marriage. It is about freedom of speech. It is about open discussion of issues at American universities. Marquette must not be permitted to fire a tenured faculty member for exercising rights protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The University President has said that he is “not asking for Professor McAdams to be responsible for all the vitriol from the lowest of the internet,” But that is precisely what he and Marquette are doing. Marquette is denying Professor McAdams what he was promised – the rights of academic freedom and free expression.
But the problem is larger than that. John wrote the post because he has repeatedly seen conservative and traditional Catholic views marginalized at an ostensibly Catholic university. Quite apart from concern for his personal situation, he is prepared to fight to the end for what he believes in. He believes that universities should be places of free and open debate.
John will not admit guilt and he will not accept what is being done to him. He intends to go to court to challenge Marquette’s wrongful actions. We will be with him every step of the way but we need your help. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty represents clients pro bono, meaning we do not charge them for our legal services. We do this because many people have cases where their fundamental rights to life, liberty, and property are threatened by an ever more intrusive government. We take cases just like this – cases that, if successful, will advance broader principles of economic freedom, limited government, and individual liberty, including the freedom of speech and belief.
As we prepare to vigorously defend Dr. McAdams, we need more resources for litigation. Please click here if you want to help us help Dr. McAdams preserve free speech, on Marquette’s campus and other American universities. A win for Professor McAdams will send a strong message to universities across the country that all speech – including that of conservatives – must be respected.