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Suspended professor McAdams appears in court for summary judgments

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

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Attorneys representing suspended professor John McAdams and Marquette University appeared in court to present their cases to a judge Feb. 2.

Both sides were seeking summary judgments, meaning a victory in the case before going to trial.

Judge David Hansher of Milwaukee County Circuit will issue an opinion as soon as possible.

If Hansher issues a victory, the losing side is expected to appeal. If Hansher does not award victory to a side, the case will go to a jury trial, currently set for June.

McAdams was suspended for a November 2014 blog post that criticized Cheryl Abbate, a graduate student who instructed a Philosophy of Ethics class. The post included ways to contact Abbate, who received crude, threatening messages. Abbate later transferred.

McAdams’ post stemmed from an after-class conversation between Abbate and an undergraduate student. Abbate did not allow the student to voice criticism of gay marriage during a class discussion. The student secretly recorded the conversation and brought it to McAdams, who wrote about it.

After being suspended for two semesters without pay, McAdams sued Marquette last year, claiming the suspension violated his contract.

McAdams’ attorney Rick Esenberg argued the contract meant Marquette would protect McAdams’ academic freedom, not limit it after negative reaction to his freedom of speech.

President Lovell said in March 2016 he would release the suspension on McAdams if he submitted a letter apologizing for his actions. McAdams responded with a five-page letter rejecting the punishment given to him.

Marquette attorney Ralph Weber argued that McAdams was in violation of the university’s values by naming Abbate and providing personal contact information, which set Abbate up for harassment.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Suspended professor McAdams appears in court for summary judgments”

  1. John McAdams on February 7th, 2017 8:03 am

    I did not provide “contact information.” I linked to Abbate’s blog, and particularly to an essay about how “All Men are Responsible for the Prevalence of Rape.” She may well have had contact information on her blog, but the point of the link was Abbate’s anti-male sexism.

    [Reply]

  2. Paul Quirk on February 7th, 2017 2:28 pm

    I would note that MU Wire did not make up the allegation about providing contact information. It comes from the University’s dishonest statement to the court. The blog gave Abbate’s name with a hyperlink to her blog, with no mention of contacting her. It would be just as correct to say that he provided lengthy accounts of her opinions.

    McAdam’s original post is still available (Marquette Warrior, November 2014) for anyone who wants to verify the content.

    [Reply]

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