Faculty and staff react to McAdams’ possible dismissal from Marquette

John McAdams. Wire stock photo.

Photo by Wire stock photo

John McAdams. Wire stock photo.

Marquette students and faculty shared their thoughts on University President Michael Lovell’s letter regarding the completion of political science professor John McAdams’ conduct review.

Although the letter, which Marquette shared through the university Facebook page Feb. 4, does not explicitly state the conduct review results, McAdams stated in a Feb. 4 blog post that Marquette started the process to revoke his tenure and dismiss him from the faculty as a result of the review.

“Professor McAdams has been advised of the action that the university intends to take as a result,” Lovell said in the letter. “Until all procedures required under university rules and policies are complete, we will not publicly disclose further details.”

McAdams was relieved of his teaching duties over winter break after he publicly criticized teaching assistant Cheryl Abbate for not allowing discussion about gay marriage in class. The university opened a review of his conduct and temporarily banned him from campus for the duration of the review. The incident received national attention and sparked protests from the Westboro Baptist Church and student groups in December, and Abbate transferred to the University of Colorado-Boulder as a result.

Theology professor Daniel Maguire openly discussed his support of academic freedom as a member of the American Association of University Professors.

“It proves that Marquette is a monarchy and all this talk of being a community is farcical. Marquette is a monarchy behaving in ways that go against academic due process,” Maguire said. “Because they’re really attacking tenure. They can claim anybody’s.”

Maguire went on to explain his thoughts on all of the press surrounding the situation.

“The damage being done to Marquette University right now is not being done by professor John McAdams,” Maguire said in an email.

In addition, psychology professor Stephen Franzoi offered his opinion on the letter, explaining why he understands Lovell’s choice not to share the final decision of McAdams’ review.

“I do understand that they’re not sharing the results because it is a personnel matter. I think there will be more that will come out over time,” Franzoi said. “I think this might very well go to the courts, so I think Lovell said as much as he probably could say at this point.”

McAdams’ blog, “The Marquette Warrior,” is the platform he used to express his thoughts on the incident. It is not affiliated with the university.

“I believe that McAdams knew what he was doing when he invited outside sources on the matter,” Franzoi said. “McAdams has engaged in unethical conduct for a number of years. This is the first time the administration has taken any action against it.”

Franzoi adds that McAdams chose to publicize what the university shared with him regarding the results of the conduct review.

“I think that President Lovell eloquently handled the situation in a way that would appease both students and faculty while maintaining respect and privacy for all the parties involved,” said Emily Petersen, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences. “While it is frustrating to not know all the minute details of the case, it protects the individuals involved from further scrutiny.”

University spokesman Brian Dorrington declined to comment, saying Lovell’s letter is the only response and that Marquette will not publicly disclose further details at this time until all procedures are completed.