Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | In McAdams vs. Marquette hearing, justices focus on speech rights for professors

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel continues their coverage of the McAdams v. Marquette saga.

Suspended Marquette University political science professor John McAdams hopes the state Supreme Court will return him to the classroom and allow him to collect damages for being disciplined over a blog post.

The university hopes the justices will decide it followed a mutually agreed upon disciplinary process outlined in the professor’s employment contract. That process led to a committee of his peers unanimously agreeing he acted unprofessionally by opening a graduate student up to public criticism, and that he should be suspended.

Attorneys for both McAdams and Marquette presented their cases to the state Supreme Court on Thursday. And justices peppered them with questions about free speech protections, whether a faculty committee should have more authority than a court over employment contract disputes, and other aspects of the case.

It could come down to whether justices believe professors at private schools are entitled to the same free speech protections as those at public schools.

Other questions raised by justices included whether a graduate student acting in the role of classroom instructor should be shielded from potential harm by a professor, or treated as an instructor.

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