McAdams’ spring classes canceled, conduct reviewed

John McAdams. Wire stock photo.

Photo by Wire stock photo

John McAdams. Wire stock photo.

Political science professor John McAdams will not be teaching any of his classes scheduled this semester as the university reviews his conduct during a widely publicized controversy between a student and teaching assistant.

“One course was canceled and the others are being taught by other faculty,” Richard Holz, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, said in an email.

According to Marquette snapshot records, McAdams was supposed to teach three courses: two American public policy courses and one on the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

University spokesman Brian Dorrington said the department of political science initially tried to keep one of his classes, but canceled all of them over Christmas break.

“Students were informed before Christmas and were all given options to take other political science courses,” Dorrington said in an email. “Leadership within our political science department also has been working (with) seniors to ensure they all still have the credits they need to graduate.”

On his blog, Marquette Warrior, McAdams said Holz relieved him from his teaching duties with pay and banned him from campus on Dec. 16. This happened after McAdams wrote a blog post criticizing teaching assistant Cheryl Abbate for a disagreement she had with a student about allowing discussion of gay marriage. That post was picked up by multiple national news organizations and provoked the Westboro Baptist Church to picket campus Dec. 8. In addition, Abbate left Marquette for the University of Colorado-Boulder and the incident is being reviewed.

A reader submission detailing some professors’ concerns with McAdams’ blog and actions was published by the Tribune Nov. 25. The Tribune contacted all of the professors who signed the submission to see if they could comment on the McAdams ban, but they declined to comment.

“The university is continuing its in-depth review and considering all appropriate responses,” Dorrington said in an email. “When concerns are raised that a line has been crossed, it is our responsibility to take action and conduct a review.”

Two groups of students held campus demonstrations Dec. 22, taking both sides of the situation involving McAdams. The conservative group Turning Point USA protested against the ban while another group supported Abbate.

“It is important to note that under faculty conduct rules, a professor would not be subject to a review of this nature simply for voicing an opinion. The university has expectations of conduct, specifically as they relate to the faculty-student relationship,” Dorrington said in an email. “We want to emphasize that all of our graduate student teaching assistants are students first. As students, they are learning their craft and it is our expectation that they are mentored and supported by our faculty. ”