Top 10 stories of the 2015-’16 school year

As the 2015-’16 school year comes to a close, we’re looking back and highlighting the biggest stories that hit our pages.

John McAdams. Photo by Ben Erickson /
John McAdams. Photo by Ben Erickson /[email protected]

1. McAdams Controversy

In its second year, the controversy surrounding suspended Political Science Professor John McAdams continued brewing. It reached a new level when McAdams sued the university on May 2.

The controversy started in 2014 when McAdams published a post on his blog, Marquette Warrior, to criticize former Teaching Assistant Cheryl Abbate for allegedly stopping her students from discussing anti-gay marriage views in her Theory of Ethics class. The post gained national attention and caused the Westboro Baptist Church to picket campus in December 2014. Abbate received threats and criticism, mainly from anonymous persons online, leading her to transfer to the University of Colorado Boulder.

A Faculty Hearing Committee met in the fall 2015 semester to draw up a recommendation for University President Michael Lovell on if McAdams should be removed from Marquette or not. Lovell announced in March that he decided to have McAdams serve a semester-long suspension without pay, but with benefits, and submit an apology for his actions. McAdams refused this punishment, leading him to sue the university.

Photo by Yue Yin /
Yue Yin/ [email protected]
Photo by Yue Yin /[email protected]

2. MUPD’s First Year

The Marquette Police Department was commissioned in May 2015 with 36 sworn-in officers. During summer 2015, crime rates dropped by 47 percent when compared to summer 2014 crime, according to University President Michael Lovell. During the academic year, MUPD officers were trained in non-lethal techniques and were outfitted with tasers. The department also established its own advisory board of student, staff, faculty and Milwaukee community members.

Photo by Maryam Tunio/
Maryam Tunio
Photo by Maryam Tunio/[email protected]

3. Rec & Wellness Referendum Passes

Students voted in March to add a new $100 recreation and wellness fee to the overall student fee so Marquette can start creating new student recreation spaces. The fee, proposed by Marquette Student Government, will start being applied in the 2017-’18 school year and will make small fixes to current recreation facilities, in addition to funding a new workout facility. MUSG is also working on allocating funds for new indoor club sports practice spaces, since there are two major indoor practice spaces that may be used by 45 different club sports.

A Snapchat image of the flooding in the Schroeder Hall stairwell. Wire stock photo.
A Snapchat image of the flooding in the Schroeder Hall stairwell. Wire stock photo.

4. The Schroeder Flood

A firehouse was intentionally activated in September by an unknown person on the sixth floor of Schroeder Hall, causing a flood that damaged 18 rooms and forced residents to temporarily relocate to other residence halls. The residents were able to move back into Schroeder on October 2, however, they were not reimbursed for flood damage since it was caused intentionally.

Photo by Ben Erickson /
Photo by Ben Erickson /[email protected]

5. Climate Study Results Released

In September, Marquette released the results of a campus climate study survey conducted in February 2015. It found that 19 percent of students experienced exclusion, intimidation or offensive and/or hostile conduct on campus. Additionally, LGBT and underrepresented students did not feel as academically successful as their peers. Female students generally felt more academically successful than male students.

The wall displays symbolic images and statements about the Israeli-Palestine conflict, including “to exist is to resist.” Photo by Meredith Gillespie/
The wall displays symbolic images and statements about the Israeli-Palestine conflict, including “to exist is to resist.” Photo by Meredith Gillespie/[email protected]

6. Apartheid Wall Controversy

Students for Justice in Palestine displayed a mock apartheid wall in the Alumni Memorial Union for its third-annual “Israeli Apartheid Week” in March. It was removed by the Office of Student Development without warning by the next morning. OSD said the display violated school policies and wasn’t approved beforehand, as AMU displays from student organizations must be. SJP then sought legal advice through Palestine Legal to ensure its rights have not been violated. In April, SJP displayed a redesigned mock apartheid wall after getting it approved by OSD.

The Rev. John Schlegel. Photo by Nolan Bollier /
The Rev. John Schlegel. Photo by Nolan Bollier /[email protected]

7. Gesu Pastor Dies from Cancer

Former Church of the Gesu Pastor the Rev. John Schlegel was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer in January 2015. He was an avid traveler in the months leading up to his death in November 2015, visiting friends, family and even Pope Francis. He passed away at 72 in Omaha, Nebraska, where he was president of Creighton University for 11 years. Marquette held a memorial mass for him in December and the Rev. Jim Flaherty was appointed as the new Gesu pastor.

University President Michael Lovell. Photo by Nolan Bollier /
Doug Peters
University President Michael Lovell. Photo by Nolan Bollier /[email protected]

8. Lovell’s Second Presidential Address

University President Michael Lovell’s second Presidential Address in January was filled with new announcements. Among them were the reinstatement of an annual homecoming dance, plans to possibly bring a grocery store to campus and a partnership with Aurora Health Care, which will provide a $40 million capital investment for Marquette’s future Athletic Performance Research Center.

One of Bradley's pieces in The Marquette Tribune. Wire stock photo.
One of Bradley’s pieces in The Marquette Tribune. Wire stock photo.

9. Rebecca Bradley Controversy

Marquette alumna and new Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley came under fire in March when news outlets uncovered her 1992 writings in The Marquette Tribune that criticize gays and former President Bill Clinton, and compare abortion to slavery and the Holocaust. The Marquette College Democrats subsequently created an online petition for the university to disassociate from her.

Photo by Michael Carpenter/
Photo by Michael Carpenter/michael.carpen[email protected]

10. Partnership with Global Water Center and White House

Lovell announced in November that Marquette will co-lead an initiative to advise the White House and Congress on water use in manufacturing. The work for the initiative is being done in the university’s new space in the downtown Global Water Center, which opened in January. The work’s focus areas include how companies use and re-use water, how technology can make businesses more water-efficient and water-related policies that can best help the country.