McAdams Case: Get the facts
This incident happened in 2014. Why is it still an issue?
It remains an issue due to continuing legal action by John McAdams. In May 2017, a Wisconsin Circuit Court judge ruled in Marquette’s favor on summary judgment, and dismissed the lawsuit, in part stating that “academic freedom does not mean that a professor can harass, threaten or intimidate a student.” We agree wholeheartedly with this assessment. If John McAdams had written this exact blog post and omitted the student teacher’s name and contact information, no disciplinary action would have been taken.
Most recently, John McAdams filed an appeal and a petition asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to hear the matter directly; the petition was granted and the court will hear oral arguments on April 19, 2018.
Why is this case going to the Wisconsin Supreme Court?
Following the dismissal of his case on summary judgment, John McAdams exercised his right to appeal. He asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to hear the case in the first instance, instead of waiting for the Court of Appeals to first review the matter, and the Court agreed to do so.
What steps did the University take to review this matter?
Marquette’s faculty contract details a set of procedures for faculty discipline. The proceedings began with a notice from the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in January 2015, followed by a four-day hearing in September 2015 before the Faculty Hearing Committee. At the hearing, counsel for John McAdams and Marquette examined and cross-examined multiple witnesses. In April 2016, the president made his decision, based on the Faculty Hearing Committee’s 123-page, unanimous report and recommendations.
Is the Faculty Hearing Committee Report available to read?
Yes. Marquette has released the Faculty Hearing Committee report, along with other documents, to ensure transparency and to make sure our community has the full story.
Was John McAdams fired?
No. John McAdams remains on suspension because he refused to accept the terms set forth by President Lovell.
Did the university revoke his Tenure?
Was John McAdams asked to make a public apology?
No. As President Lovell explained in his call for decency, John McAdams was asked to take responsibility for his actions and to privately express regret for the harm suffered by our student teacher. In response, John McAdams said he would do so “when hell freezes over.” John McAdams was never asked to make a public apology and was never asked to apologize for any opinion or political view he may hold.
Is this issue about freedom of speech or academic freedom?
No. This issue is about the professor’s unprofessional conduct toward a student teacher in putting her name and contact information on the internet before a hostile audience. If John McAdams had written the exact blog post and omitted the student teacher’s name and contact information, no disciplinary action would have been taken.
Academic freedom and freedom of speech are essential tenets of our campus community. John McAdams has enjoyed academic freedom and freedom of speech for 40 years, including publishing more than 3,000 blogs on a variety of topics and additional commentary on the internet for nearly 20 years.
Is this issue about John McAdams' political views?
Absolutely not. This issue is about his conduct toward a student teacher, which was in violation of his contract. If John McAdams had written the exact blog post and omitted the student teacher’s name and contact information, no disciplinary action would have been taken.
Is this an issue related to Marquette’s Catholic, Jesuit identity?
Yes. Marquette lives by its Guiding Values. We cannot and will not stand by when a professor needlessly and recklessly harms a student teacher.