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Marquette’s McAdams Won’t Apologize, Remains Suspended

In an update to a case FIRE has followed closely for more than two years, reports that Marquette University has reiterated its demand that professor John McAdams apologize for criticizing philosophy instructor Cheryl Abbate on his personal blog about her resistance to hearing opinions arguing against same-sex marriage in class.

McAdams, a tenured associate professor of political science, was suspended for the commentary in 2014, and has refused to apologize as a condition to his reinstatement. He is currently suing the university.

The new developments come as part of a January 12 letter from Marquette’s legal counsel to McAdams’ attorney. The letter states that it is standing by three pre-conditions to McAdams’ reinstatement, first proposed by Marquette President Michael Lovell in a letter to McAdams last March.

According to Marquette’s most recent letter, McAdams must:

provide a statement containing three elements: (1) acknowledgement and acceptance of the judgment of his peers; (2) affirming and committing to adherence to the standards of higher education at Marquette; and (3) acknowledgement that his blog post was reckless and incompatible with the mission and values of Marquette, and expressing regret for the harm suffered by Ms. Abbate.

In short, he has to apologize.

It’s something McAdams and his attorney from the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty told he won’t do.

Both FIRE and the American Association of University Professors have been critical of Marquette’s suspension of McAdams since it was first announced in 2014. In early 2015, we wrote to Marquette, detailing our concerns about the lack of due process, freedom of speech, and academic freedom it afforded McAdams and noting that Marquette appeared to violate its own policies in carrying out the suspension.

This semester marks McAdams’ fifth banned from campus.

According to, a judge will rule on summary judgment motions for both sides early next month.

You can read more interesting details on developments, including McAdams’ reaction, over on

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