Monday, January 29, 2018

Again: Wall Street Journal on Marquette v. Warrior Blogger

The paper chimes in again:
Marquette and the First Amendment
Wisconsin’s Supreme Court will judge a promise of academic freedom.

A political-science professor who says Marquette University violated his employment contract’s guarantee of academic freedom will get his day in court. Though a judge for a lower state court earlier ruled for the university, last week the Wisconsin Supreme Court agreed to John McAdams’s request that it bypass the appeals courts and take up his suit directly.

Professor McAdams is now in his seventh semester outside the classroom because of a November 2014 post on his Marquette Warrior blog. The post criticized a graduate instructor, Cheryl Abbate, for telling a student with more traditional views that she would tolerate no dissent on same-sex marriage in her class on ethics.

After the post Ms. Abbate received several ugly emails. Mr. McAdams was blamed and punished, though he had nothing to do with those messages. The university contends that Mr. McAdams’s offense is having identified a student by name—Ms. Abbate. The characterization is telling, because though Ms. Abbate was indeed a grad student she was also a paid employee of the university teaching a course. If any student was harmed here, it was the Marquette undergraduate who was told there was no room for his views in Ms. Abbate’s classroom.

No one forced Marquette to enter into an employment contract with Mr. McAdams. But it did. And that contract says he cannot be fired for exercising a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. By any reasonable standard that would include the First Amendment—even at a Jesuit university.
The First Amendment is relevant here since, although Marquette is a private university, faculty have a contractual guarantee of the free speech rights embodied in the U.S. Constitution. This most certainly includes the First Amendment.

Since we did absolutely nothing that would not be protected speech under the First Amendment, Marquette is trying to weasel out of this promise by claiming that we violated some “expectations” that bind faculty. But those “expectations” are not written down anywhere, not supported by any precedent, and were in fact merely concocted because Marquette (under pressure from leftist faculty) wanted to get rid of us.

If Marquette can get away with that, faculty at public universities (who are protected under the First Amendment even without any explicit contractual language) are vulnerable to the same tactic.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Lovell’s Falsehood: Abbate Received Threats

Marquette President Michael Lovell, to support the narrative that graduate instructor Cheryl Abbate was terribly victimized has claimed that Abbate received threats. Recall that we reported that she told a student that he was not allowed to argue against gay marriage since that would be “homophobic” and “offensive.”

He claimed this in a letter to the Wall Street Journal:
Instead of expressing his concerns through established internal channels, he chose to blog about our graduate student—publicly shaming her, questioning her values and including a link to her contact information. Through those actions, he exposed her to a flood of violent threats and hateful messages.
He has done this multiple times, for example on an April 2016 FAQ posted on Marquette’s website:
Dr. McAdams disagreed with the way one of our graduate students led a classroom discussion. Instead of expressing those concerns through established internal channels, he chose to blog about our graduate student — publicly shaming her, questioning her values and including a link to her contact information. He sought opportunities to amplify his public shaming of her on cable news and talk radio. Through those actions, he exposed her to a constant stream of threats and hateful messages.
The “hateful messages” part is true. But “threats” is an entirely different matter. Threats are a matter for law enforcement.

Abbate Says No Threats

It’s odd that Marquette would make this claim, since Abbate herself says she received no threats.

She discusses her experience in a long essay on her blog. Amid the usual rhetoric about the evils of patriarchy and violence against women, she said this:
As you will note, none of the men who e‐mailed me or left a violent comment about me directly stated “I am going to blow your brains out,” “I am going to rape you”, or “I am going to physically assault you.” Yet, although these men were careful not to frame their messages in the form of a direct threat, their comments and emails should not be dismissed as just “harmless comments.” First of all, it is often the case that there are violent intentions that motivate these somewhat carefully constructed comments (they are careful in the sense that they do not express direct threats). To write‐off these abusive comments by saying “he didn’t say he is going to rape you; he just said he hopes you are raped!” is to wrongly trivialize the real threats of harm that very well might be contained within these comments.

Furthermore, even if these comments do not express actual threats of violence, these comments are harmful in the sense that they are intended to engender fear in women by reminding them of the very real and prevalent violence women experience.
Translation: since feminists are obsessed with violence against women, comments that are not threats can be viewed as threats.

Another interesting thing shown in Abbate’s essay is that she apparently spent considerable time looking around rather marginal websites (she mentions IOTW Report and Auto Admit) for comments about her. So many of the nasty comments she quotes did not come in e-mails to her, but were posted in some obscure corner of the web.

Conclusion

Why Marquette would keep repeating something that not only is false, but can easily be shown to be false, is a mystery. If it is mere carelessness on their part, it shows how little they care about facts in their jihad against this blogger. If it’s not that, they have simply chosen to lie.

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Come on In

GLENN MCCOY © Belleville News-Democrat. Dist. By UNIVERSAL UCLICK. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Lovell’s Falsehood: Linked to Abbate’s Contact Information

Marquette President Michael Lovell has repeatedly claimed that we, in a November 9, 2104 blog post, linked to the “contact information” of one Cherly Abbate, the philosophy instructor who told an undergraduate that he was not allowed to voice opposition to gay marriage in her class since it would be “homophobic” and “offensive.”

He made this claim most recently in a letter to the Wall Street Journal, and in an “FAQ” posted on Marquette’s website in April of 2016.

This is important because Marquette wants to claim that we somehow encouraged or incited the unkind e-mails Abbate got when the story went national.

When our case was being argued before the District Court, Marquette’s lawyer (Ralph Weber) told the judge that we had “linked to Abbate’s contact information.” The judge, David A. Hansher, asked why we would do that. Weber responded “because he wanted to hurt her.”

Unfortunately, the claim that we linked to her contact information is flatly untrue.

Linking to Her Blog

We linked to Abbate’s blog twice, once in the original November 9, 2014 post, and again in a November 13, 2014 post.

Here is the link. As you can see, there is nothing there now.

But courtesy of archive.org, this is what it looked like in November 2014. Is there any contact information there? No, there is not.

But suppose, on that page, you go to Abbate’s toxic feminist essay “Yes All Men… Contribute to the Prevalence of Rape” at the bottom left of the page. You end up here.

Still no contact information.

But then you might click on “Cheryl E Abbate” at the bottom of the page, and you end up here. This is promising. At the top right-hand part of the page, it says “How to contact Cheryl.” When you click on that, and then go back to the December 2013 version of the page, you finally find her e-mail address.

Did Anybody Actually Do That?

So if somebody dug hard enough, they could have found her e-mail address on her blog. But suppose they just Googled up a list of Marquette Philosophy graduate students? There Abbate is, along with her e-mail.

If we want to be generous, we might say Marquette has been stretching the truth. If we want to be less generous, Marquette has been out and out lying.

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Our Case v. Marquette Goes Direct to the Wisconsin Supreme Court

Wisconsin Supreme Court Agrees to Hear McAdams v. Marquette

WILL, McAdams had petitioned for the state Supreme Court to take case because of its effect on all colleges, universities in state

January 22, 2018 – Milwaukee, WI – The Wisconsin Supreme Court has agreed to bypass the Court of Appeals and immediately hear Professor John McAdams’ case against Marquette University. McAdams sued Marquette after the university fired him for blogging about a graduate student instructor who mistreated her undergraduate pupil. The court will likely hear oral argument in April or May and issue a ruling by July.

“We are pleased that the state Supreme Court has agreed to hear our case on behalf of John McAdams,” said Rick Esenberg, President and General Counsel at WILL. “It is very important to have clarification on this important issue and I’m glad that John will have his day in court sooner than later.”

WILL asked the court to take the case because there is no binding precedent on the question of how far academic freedom extends. A ruling from the court will also provide a standard for the rights of professors at UW System schools and private universities and colleges that also promise their faculty academic freedom.

In November 2014, McAdams shared a story on his blog, Marquette Warrior, of an undergraduate student who had been told by a graduate student instructor, Cheryl Abbate, that he could not express his disagreement with same-sex marriage in her theory of ethics class because doing so would be homophobic and offensive. The story went national, resulting in significant amounts of bad press for Marquette.

In response, Marquette summarily suspended McAdams from his teaching duties and banned him from campus, initiating proceedings to revoke his tenure and fire him. An internal faculty hearing committee (FHC) was convened to judge the dispute, but it suffered from serious procedural flaws, as Marquette withheld evidence from McAdams and allowed a clearly-biased professor to sit on the FHC. The FHC eventually recommended McAdams be suspended for two semesters. Instead, Marquette President Michael Lovell suspended McAdams indefinitely without pay unless he issued a written apology for his behavior – effectively firing him.

More information about the case is available here. ###

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Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Real Dreamer

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

President Lovell Attacks Warrior Blogger, We Respond

When the Wall Street Journal came down on our side in our academic freedom case against Marquette, Marquette President Michael Lovell responded with a letter published in the Journal.

The paper then kindly gave us a chance to respond to Lovell. We are reprinting Lovell’s letter, and our response, as well as a few of the comments both letters provoked.

First Lovell:
Your editorial “A Jesuit School Gets Dogmatic” (Jan. 8) describes Associate Professor John McAdams’s interaction with one of our former graduate students as “normal give and take of debate.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. Mr. McAdams inflicted a public and personal internet attack on our student. Instead of expressing his concerns through established internal channels, he chose to blog about our graduate student—publicly shaming her, questioning her values and including a link to her contact information. Through those actions, he exposed her to a flood of violent threats and hateful messages.

In January 2016, Marquette’s faculty hearing committee unanimously concluded in a 123-page report that Mr. McAdams violated his core obligations as a tenured professor when he used his blog needlessly and recklessly to harm our student. In May 2017, a Milwaukee County judge issued a 33-page decision dismissing all claims against Marquette University. The judge’s decision states: “academic freedom does not mean that a faculty member can harass, threaten, intimidate, ridicule, or impose his or her views on students.”

John McAdams has the right to talk about controversial topics on his blog and to disagree with and debate Marquette-related positions freely. But he crossed the line when he launched a personal, demeaning internet attack on a Marquette student, choosing to publicly shame her to advance his narrative and draw attention to himself and his blog. Tenure and the freedoms that come with it also have obligations and responsibilities. These disturbing, harassing actions will never have a place on our campus. Just as they have no place in any work environment.

Michael R. Lovell

President, Marquette University
Now, our response:
Marquette University President Michael Lovell claims to be upset because in a blog post I exposed the misconduct of a graduate instructor who told one of her students that arguing for the Catholic position on gay marriage was forbidden, being “homophobic” and “offensive” (Letters, Jan. 12). The instructor in question (Cheryl Abbate) was 27 years old and had been in the U.S. military. She was the “instructor of record” in the class—to her students “the professor.”

Mr. Lovell claims I had “shamed” and “harassed” Ms. Abbate. But any journalist who exposes misconduct could be said to have “shamed” or “harassed” the subject of the reporting. Journalists (including faculty bloggers) expose misconduct. Exposing misconduct that politically correct folks dislike would never be labeled “shaming” or “harassment.” And I certainly questioned her “values” which are shamefully too prevalent on college campuses. That was why the incident mattered.

The claim that I linked to her “contact information” is flatly false. I linked to her toxic feminist blog post of Sept. 20, 2014 titled “Yes All Men . . . Contribute to the Prevalence of Rape.” Possibly people dug around on her blog and found her email address, or simply used Marquette’s standard formula.

Mr. Lovell claims I should have fought a quiet internal battle for redress. Of course bureaucrats want misconduct in their organizations handled quietly and internally. But journalists are under no obligation to accommodate them.

Mr. Lovell notes that a faculty panel recommended that I be suspended. But academic freedom for conservative faculty is pretty precarious in the hands of other faculty. Further, the faculty panel did not suggest I should render a Stalinist apology to get my job back. That was Mr. Lovell.

John McAdams

Milwaukee
And a few of the more interesting comments:

Responses to Lovell’s letter:
I have been involved and effective at raising millions of dollars for Marquette University. Recently I observed the law of unintended consequences working when a fellow dental alum rescinded his six-figure donation because of President Lovell’s action.

Paul A. Gruber, DDS

“But he crossed the line when he launched a personal, demeaning internet attack on a Marquette student”

In other words, he told the truth about a 27 year old graduate student teaching a class. It may be inconvenient to the dual objectives of fundraising from alumni while adhering to campus leftist dogma, but it’s still the truth, n’est-ce pas? — Catherine Pate

President Lovell states: The judge’s decision states: “academic freedom does not mean that a faculty member can harass, threaten, intimidate, ridicule, or impose his or her views on students.”

Isn’t that what his leftist graduate student was doing? — Matt Burkholder

President Lovell claims that Professor McAdams “shamed” the graduate student. I read the blog and he factually reported what the graduate student did. No one disputes what took place. If what she did was not shameful, then nothing Professor McAdams said could be considered shaming. — Christopher Iliff

Comments in response to our letter:
I have fond memories of growing up in Milwaukee in the days when Marquette was still an unabashedly Catholic university. Guess the same folks who brought us Liberation Theology are running the place. — St.Clair Tweedie

McAdams was employed by Marquette. As such, he has an implicit responsibility to try to improve the University and at a minimum, not to damage it. He could have done so by going through the appropriate channels to have the situation addressed. He chose not to and his hiding behind his role as a journalist. He had a choice; carry out his responsibilities to his employer, or to pursue his freedom as a “journalist.” He chose to be a “journalist.” Given the potential and apparently intentional damage that he caused to Marquette, he was fired. — Stephen OBrien

@STEPHEN OBRIEN It is quite possible he did evaluate how to improve the University and in his own personal determination felt that the best way to do that was to “out” the situation because the sunshine was needed so it didn’t get brushed under the rug. — Michelle Madsen

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Sunday, January 14, 2018

So Many Candidates for the Award

GLENN MCCOY © Belleville News-Democrat. Dist. By UNIVERSAL UCLICK. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Marquette Attempt to Fire Warrior Blogger / Update

First, a briefing on the current state of the case from our lawyers at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.
John McAdams was a conservative professor at Marquette University, teaching political science. When he blogged criticizing a liberal graduate instructor who refused to permit debate about gay marriage, claiming that any opinion against gay marriage was homophobic and would not be permitted in her class, Marquette administration threw the book at McAdams. He was suspended from his teaching duties and banned from campus as if he were a dangerous criminal – all in violation of his teaching contract, which requires various procedures be followed before a suspension may be imposed.

Marquette then moved to formally fire McAdams. The university convened a “faculty hearing committee” that failed to provide McAdams his contractual due process rights, such as unbiased members and the right to access all of the university’s evidence and witnesses. After a weeklong hearing, the committee issued a convoluted report that created new rules it could then claim McAdams violated. The committee recommended he be suspended without pay for one or two semesters.

Marquette President Michael Lovell went beyond that recommendation, however, not only suspending him but giving him a few days to issue a Soviet-style admission of wrongdoing or be fired. McAdams refused to engage in such coerced speech, and has been indefinitely suspended without pay – effectively terminated.

McAdams sued Marquette for breach of his employment contract. The trial court ruled in favor of Marquette, concluding that it had to defer to the faculty hearing committee, and adopted all of its findings of fact and conclusions of law, despite McAdams proving that Marquette had withheld key information from the committee. We appealed and asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to bypass the Court of Appeals, hearing the case immediately.
An organization on our side is the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the nation’s most important defender of academic freedom, both for faculty and students. They published a recent article on the case, and noted:
If a faculty member is not free to criticize, even publicly, the pedagogy of a fellow instructor, or to respond in kind to his or her critics, important institutional dialogues about teaching, scholarship, politics, and more will be deeply chilled. Faculty already report being reluctant to speak out and even to teach about sensitive issues for fear of professional repercussions. If the lower court’s ruling stands, the increasing chill on faculty expression will only intrude further as administrators around the country seize on the decision to justify disciplining faculty for public dissent on topics both internal and external to the university.
Finally, three radio interviews about the case. First, Tom Kamenick (one of our legal team) on the Jerry Bader show out of Green Bay.

Second, our interview with Right Wisconsin.

Finally, Rick Esenberg (head of our legal team) on the Jim Bohannan show (national).

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Christian A Cappella Internet Radio

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What an Idea!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Wall Street Journal on Marquette Attempt to Fire Warrior Blogger

A Jesuit School Gets Dogmatic
Is Marquette’s promise of academic freedom worth anything

By The Editorial Board

Marquette is a Jesuit university in Milwaukee. Which is appropriate, because jesuitical is the word that fits its explanation for firing a tenured political science professor who defended a student who was badly treated by an intolerant graduate instructor.

The sacked professor is John McAdams, who in 2014 wrote a blog post criticizing by name Cheryl Abbate, who taught a course on ethics. Ms. Abbate had told a student he could not express his disagreement with same-sex marriage in her ethics class because it was “homophobic” and on that issue there could be no debate.

In his post on the incident, Mr. McAdams made no judgment on same-sex marriage. But he noted that liberals are inclined to deem views they disagree with as offensive and then use that to shut down debate. The story went national.

Marquette officials took action—against Mr. McAdams. He was blamed for the hate mail that Ms. Abbate received after he named her, even though there’s no evidence he was part of any of it. Marquette President Michael Lovell gave him an ultimatum: apologize or be suspended without pay indefinitely. Mr. McAdams refused to apologize and has been effectively fired.

He’s also suing, and last May a Wisconsin trial court backed the university’s dismissal. But Mr. McAdams has appealed and wants to go straight to the state Supreme Court. The Wisconsin Institute for Liberty and Law, which has taken his case, says the firing violates Mr. McAdams’s contract with Marquette, which promises freedom from threats of dismissal over constitutional rights such as free speech.

As a private institution, Marquette has the right to set its own employment standards and it needn’t abide by the First Amendment. But it is hard to square Mr. McAdams’s dismissal with any reasonable understanding of Marquette’s contract guaranteeing him academic freedom.

We wish these issues weren’t left for courts. But when institutions such as Marquette are unable to handle what should be the normal give and take of debate, they invite that intervention. How much better we’d all be if Marquette would acknowledge its mistake and give the professor his job back.

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Thursday, January 04, 2018

You Seriously Need to Ask Yourself That

GLENN MCCOY © Belleville News-Democrat. Dist. By UNIVERSAL UCLICK. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

We are fully aware that “weather” is not the same thing as “climate” — something that climate alarmists will loudly insist upon when the weather is cold.

Unfortunately, when it gets warm, or when there is a hurricane, or even when there are wildfires, the alarmists entirely forget that dictum. All of a sudden what’s happening right now is the “new normal” and clear evidence of a climate apocalypse. Which is why they fully deserve to be taunted during freezing weather.

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Monday, January 01, 2018

Things Declared “Racist” in 2017

From the National Post in Canada, a list of things that somebody declared to be “racist.”

We will simply list them, and you can click through (if you wish) to see the details.
  • Hoop earrings
  • Casting a black woman as a Star Trek lead
  • Quoting Beyoncé lyrics
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Having sex with immigrants
  • Making fun of Southerners
  • Justin Trudeau
  • Steve Martin’s King Tut sketch
  • Dunkirk
  • Shooting Nazis in video games
  • Get Out!
  • This Dove ad
  • A German anti-litter campaign
  • Wearing latex gloves
  • The word “clan”
  • Taco Bell not serving fries
The whole notion of “racism” may be the best illustration of Marx’s dictum that history repeats itself “first as tragedy, then as farce.” First you get the tragedy of real racism. Then you get the tragedy of liberals polluting discourse by labeling a whole range of legitimate political opinions as “racist.” Oppose affirmative action, and you are a “racist.” Believe the U.S. should control its southern border, and you are “racist.” Deny that cops are wantonly shooting down a huge number of innocent blacks and you are “racist.” Vote for Donald Trump and you are “racist.”

And then, of course, you get the farcical situations above.

But since convincing the yahoos to restrain themselves and use the word only for genuine racism is a hopeless task, perhaps it is good that it be devalued and recognized for the useless slur that it has become.

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