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John McAdams Sues Marquette University for Suspension Over Blog Post

The tenured Marquette University political science professor suspended in 2014 for blogging about a student’s dispute with an instructor over a class discussion of gay marriage announced today he will sue the university.

Marquette suspended John McAdams in December 2014 after McAdams took to his personal blog, Marquette Warrior, to criticize a graduate student instructor who told a student that expressing opposition to same-sex marriage was inappropriate in her class.

In January 2015, Marquette announced its intention to revoke McAdams’ tenure and terminate him from the Marquette faculty.

At a press conference this morning, McAdams and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) announced that they had filed suit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.

WILL summarized the key allegations against the private, Jesuit institution in a press release:

Marquette University guarantees its tenured faculty academic freedoms, including the right to free speech. That right was violated when Marquette suspended Professor McAdams for blogging about an incident between an undergraduate student and a graduate instructor where the Instructor told the student that any discussion on gay marriage in an ethics course would be considered homophobic and inappropriate.

In March 2016, Marquette president Michael Lovell accepted the recommendation of Marquette’s Faculty Hearing Committee, which heard McAdams’ appeal, to suspend him without pay until January 2017. Lovell added the requirement, however, that McAdams apologize for the incident and admit wrongdoing, or else face termination. McAdams has refused to do so.

“I fear they are so committed to ridding themselves of this troublesome professor that they will fight to the bitter end,” McAdams told FIRE in an email this morning. “That would make academic freedom a very tenuous thing.”

FIRE has repeatedly criticized Marquette’s violations of McAdams’ rights to free speech, due process, and academic freedom.

With the suit’s filing, McAdams said he’s ready for a battle to have those rights restored.

“There is no amount of money they can pay me to just walk away,” McAdams said.

FIRE will continue to update Torch readers with developments in this case.

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