McAdams receives award at conservative conference


John McAdams passed away Thursday. Marquette Wire stock photo.

Suspended Marquette University Professor John McAdams received the Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick Award for Academic Freedom last Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

The CPAC is an annual, four-day conference bringing together conservative organizations involved in activism training and campaign management.

The award is a fixed sum of $10,000 and is named in honor of former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane Jordan Kirkpatrick. McAdams was awarded for his “outspoken criticism of political correctness on college campuses.”

The conference and the Kirkpatrick Award is supported by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which holds programs “meant to support and strengthen democratic capitalism, limited government and a marketplace for economic activity.”

Richard Graber, president and CEO of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, supports McAdams and said in an interview that he is a “fearless defender of free speech and open inquiry, and a martyr to political correctness.”

McAdams is receiving this award just weeks after his case was presented in court against Marquette University. McAdams sued Marquette last year after being suspended for a blog post he wrote in November 2014. The post criticized Cheryl Abbate, a former graduate student teaching a Philosophy of Ethics class and included her contact information.

“I was standing up for the right of a student, when gay marriage came up in class, to speak in opposition to gay marriage, (to) speak up on behalf of the Catholic Church’s own position,” McAdams said in an interview.

McAdams, a political science professor, was suspended without pay. University President Michael Lovell said he would reinstate McAdams to teach class if he met requirements stating that McAdams would have to write a letter apologizing for his actions. McAdams rejected the offer, saying his contract with Marquette was violated for not protecting his freedom of speech.

“It’s nice to know that there’s people who push back against campus political correctness. The fact that I’m willing to be kind of stubborn is good, but the fact that there are other people behind me who will support me is good,” McAdams said when asked why this award is important.

The University declined to comment due to the ongoing legal matters.