Academic Freedom Means . . .

For those not following the case, Marquette University has decided to attempt to fire one of its tenured professors, John McAdams, for, well, something.  The letter by which the university informed McAdams of its plan is here. McAdams’ response to the letter is here. In summary, an undergraduate student was enrolled in a philosophy class which class was being taught by a graduate student, Cheryl Abbate.  The graduate student instructor asserted, one day in class, with little or no discussion, that gay marriage is an example of something that John Rawls’ Justice Principle protects.  After class, a student objected to her claim, counterclaiming that gay marriage is potentially harmful and thus not necessarily protected.  As their discussion unfolded, Abbate unburdened herself thus:

Ok, there are some opinions that are not appropriate that are harmful, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions, and quite honestly, do you know if anyone in the class is homosexual?  . . . Ok, well, actually you don’t have a right in this class, as –especially as an ethics professor to make homophobic comments, racist comments, sexist comments . . . This is about restricting rights and liberties of individuals. Um and just as I would take offense if women can’t serve in XYZ positions because that is a sexist comment . . . You can have whatever opinions you want but I can tell you right now, in this class homophobic comments, racist comments, and sexist comments will not be tolerated. If you don’t like that you are more than free to drop this class.

There is no debate about what Abbate said since the student recorded the conversation.

The student went to members of the university administration to complain about Abbate.  They refused to acknowledge that there was anything problematic in Abbate’s statements (here according to the student—this refusal is not discussed in the letter linked above).  The student then went to John McAdams, a faculty member in a different department, and told him about these experiences.  John McAdams, with the student’s permission, blogged about the incident, criticizing Cheryl Abbate thus:

Abbate, of course, was just using a tactic typical among liberals now. Opinions with which they disagree are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed “offensive” and need to be shut up.

Abbate subsequently received some colorful critical emails whose provenance appears not to have been investigated.  For this, McAdams has been informed that he is going to be stripped of tenure and fired.  The letter I link above in which the university states its case is jaw-dropping in its total failure convincingly to articulate any significant wrongdoing by McAdams. It really has to be read to be believed.  The wrongdoing by Abbate is, of course, manifest in the quotes above. When it finally gets around to trying to explain the grave academic misconduct for which McAdams is to be stripped of his tenure, we get:

Instead of being a mentor to a graduate student instructor learning her craft- including how to deal with challenging students -you took the opportunity publicly to disparage her, in a manner that resulted in her personal safety being put at risk, and you did so without knowing key facts surrounding the events about which you wrote . . . your conduct creates fear in your colleagues and students that their actions and words will, at your unilateral “discretion,” be put on the Internet in a distorted fashion. Consequently, faculty members have voiced concerns about how they could become targets in your blog based upon items they might choose to include in a class syllabus. Your conduct thus impairs the very freedoms of teaching and expression that you vehemently purport to promote.

Yeah, McAdams, when you criticize me it violates my academic freedom!  So, we have to fire you, ’cause you might . . . criticize me!

To be sure, there are claims in the letter that McAdams made material errors of fact in his public criticism of the conduct of Abbate and Marquette’s administration, and there are claims that McAdams had some kind of obligation not to publish Abbate’s name because she was a graduate student.   These claims are silly.  Even if they were not, the things McAdams is accused of are trivialities.

Did I mention that Marquette is a “Catholic” university?

Now, obviously, Marquette University should not have academic freedom in the sense liberals mean it, and I’m not claiming it should.  Pertinaciously endorsing heresy or immorality should be firing offenses, as should displaying such pertinacious endorsement by your actions.  But nothing like that happened here.

25 thoughts on “Academic Freedom Means . . .

  1. Pingback: Academic Freedom Means . . . | Neoreactive

  2. I have been previously aware of this story. This is not so uncommon however. The agenda of deviancy has reared its ugly head several times before. I believe it was in Nevada not too long ago students of a psychology class in college were REQUIRED to wear ‘queer solidarity’ badges by the female teacher. As I remember this story in question, I thought the class the teacher told the student he could ‘drop if he didn’t like it’ was actually a compulsory class for what he wanted to major in, although I could be wrong.

    “Um and just as I would take offense if women can’t serve in XYZ positions because that is a sexist comment”

    Oh, I might have had a field day with this comment and gone on to list the positions that women shouldn’t be anywhere near, much I’m sure to her amusing horror!

    I think a few key points can be drawn from this.

    1) Academia ruthlessly punishes those of its own who buck the elite’s mindset, even if they do so on their private time on a supposedly free platform like the internet.

    2) Education establishments are getting more and more afraid of the growing phenomenon of students recording the outlandish things educators say.

    3) Sodomites are now a fully protected class that cannot have anything said against them, notice she inquired as to whether there might have been a ‘gay classmate’ in the room who might have taken offense. Shock! Do not insult the high ones in their presence!

    Another example of how educational establishments are really just thought control factories for the Modernist elite, designed to churn out docile young boys who are not only dumber than when they went in, but now highly sensitive to the protected classes who rule over their every word, action, and thought with the iron fist of political correctness.

    • > Academia ruthlessly punishes those of its own who buck the elite’s mindset

      Also, I don’t think academia is an outlier any more in this regard.

    • @ Mark Citadel
      Persians have a saying: sometimes lions have to become foxes. Ultimately this is a zero sum game with the ultimate goal being the liquidation of these purveyors of cultural syphilis. In the meantime we go along with the whole spiel: Pro-faggotry, pro-degeneracy and what not. We need to realize that the subversives are now the establishment and we have to subvert and sabotage them via underhanded means.

      • These are still early days. The time will come. Already, the factors of our enemy’s prophesied destruction are beginning to take form. When enough people are Reactionary, then there will be mass movement and actions against the tyrannical Modern elite, subversive and devastating. This ’empire’ went up almost overnight, and it will come down in a similarly spectacular fashion.

      • The early days? The subversion has been the establishment for a long time. Think about why Senator McCarthy was incapable of cleansing the government from communists and think about why he’s demonized to this day for being right. Think about why there was a need for men like Huey Long and Father Coughlin to be so politically outspoken during the Depression. Think about why FDR, that treasonous POS was allowed to destroy the 2nd American Republic without a peep from Congress or the American people. Think about why the revolts against civilization in the 60’s was not brutally squashed like how a healthy nation would do so. Think about why, Martin Luther King, a degenerate and violent communist agitator was back then painted as a “good Christian pastor” and is now sanctified.

        The rot has been there for a looong time. These are not the early days. This is just the new wave of the establishment.

      • I mean early days in terms of a Reactionary backlash and eventual victory. The rot started in the 1700s, accelerated rapidly in the 50s and 60s, and fell off a cliff in about 2008. Entropy applies to society as well, and the breaking point is coming.

  3. Meanwhile, with absolutely no legal prompting, Notre Dame recently announced it will extend university insurance benefits to same-sex “spouses.” A year ago it was sending out letters to its staff asking them to cut back on medical expenses and remove unnecessary people from their insurance policies because costs were rising too much.

    Catholic universities, such as they are, are increasingly almost as useless as Catholics, such as they are.

    • Notre Dame. This video never gets old for me. It depicts Fr Norman Weslin (God rest his soul) and how Notre Dame treated him for the offense of trespassing on campus in order to protest Obama’s commencement speech.

      Also fun, and pace Proph’s point about the general uselessness of Catholics, is this video in which a protestor who disrupts (oh! how rude!) Obama’s speech is booed by the assembled crowd of ND graduates and their parents, presumably mostly “Catholics.”

      • I am reminded of a recent conference interview for a tenure-track position I had with Jesuit university in which I was told that the university “thinks of its self as “small-c” catholic, not “big-C” Catholic”.

      • @Catholic Economist

        Why in the world are Advisors “not required to be Catholic?” (talking about the C.R.E.D.O. thing you link to via your name). Thanks for pointing it out by your presence, by the way. I’ve never heard of the thing.

    • In all honesty, Christians in general are pretty useless and I say this as a Christian and a Catholic. From the conservative Catholics who swoon over Bergoglio to the misguided Evangelicals who support Israel and the Jews(maybe they deserve to be backstabbed due to their unwavering support for backstabbers?), Christians have not done anything to stop the rot and in many cases have aided it. Just think about it, liberalism is a Christian heresy which basically takes the Biblical rhetoric of the meek inheriting the world and lambs laying down with lions to a completely radical level and combines that with a gnostic hatred for creation and the physical world. Modern-day liberalism is not the lack of religion but a religion in it of itself and it is ridiculous to conflate these SJW vermin with the likes of H.L. Mencken, George Bernard Shaw, Orwell, Wells, and Voltaire. Due to this, liberalism, which itself is a cult full of guilt, can easily manipulate and blindside Christians by guilting them with terms like “love”, “hate”, “tolerance” and other bullshit. It takes the slave-morality and inversion of values to a whole new level.

      The solution is rather simple. Do as the Catholics did in the past; the same way how the Church fathers added in a little Aristotle and Seneca, maybe it’s time to add in a little Nietszche and Evola. When ISE went on blaming Protestants on the other thread about tea partiers, he did have a point. Protestants ended up Judaizing the religion when they pushed biblical fundamentalism and tried to remove beliefs in things like the Natural Law and other innovations by the heathen world. Regardless of the righteous vitriol of Luther and Voltaire, Protestantism and classical liberalism ended up becoming easily pliable in the hands of the Jews(I sometimes lol thinking about what Luther and Voltaire would do if they saw what their ideas actually lead to). When the Catholic Church decided to “modernize” and basically become more Protestant with the start of V2, the same thing basically happened to the Catholic Church that happened to the Protestant one.

      • There will be a falling away, a thinning out, a wheat from the chaff separation. The West, drunk on its greed and pride, became decadent and thus its Christians became mere ‘cultural Christians’ in many cases. They only believed because it was to be expected of them for so long.
        The Christianity of the Golden Age is better off having shed this dead weight, becoming lean, radical, and countercultural for this current period where it will have to survive under the radar of Modernity. Let the modernizing Church of England and others like it die out. Uphold Tradition as the liberal finds better things to do on a Sunday. Our influence within the faith only grows from there, and seeds the radical ideas of the World of Tradition that Evola talked about. It is indeed the most revolutionary ideology of our times, Traditionalism.

        To fight for this dim candle is to do service for the Lord and from a dim candle it is to become a lake of fire to engulf what the Vedic tradition called “the atheist class born in this Age of Kali”. They shall surely perish for the hell they have built.

  4. Pingback: Reblog: academic freedom | Throne and Altar

  5. Pingback: Academic Freedom Means . . . | Reaction Times

  6. I’ve always taken the view that understanding metaphysical committments are the key factor in getting the most comprehensive view of the “way things are”. But here are three groups that reject modernity in one sense or another, and yet, are either totally disconnected or violently opposed.

    Traditional Christianity
    Authentic spirituality seekers
    Traditional Islam

    All of the above regard scientism/physicalism as THE problem, but that’s where it stops. Is my initial statement simply not true?

    • Your groups list may be too limited. There are most certainly traditional Hindus and Buddhists who would take a similar attitude.

      Also, some forms of Christianity that I would not necessarily class as ‘traditional Christianity ‘ such as the Amish, would definitely count as being disconnected from Modernity.

  7. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2015/02/10 | Free Northerner

  8. Pingback: This Week in Reaction (2015/02/13) | The Reactivity Place

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