Marquette University

Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Website: http://www.marquette.edu
Type: Private
Federal Circuit: 7th Circuit

Speech Code Rating

Marquette University has been given the speech code rating Red. A red light university has at least one policy that both clearly and substantially restricts freedom of speech. Read more here.

  • Marquette University: Faculty Member Facing Loss of Tenure for Opinions on Blog

    February 5, 2015

    A professor’s job is at risk after he wrote a blog criticizing another instructor.

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  • Marquette University: Political Quote Banned from Office Door

    September 27, 2006

    In August 2006, a PhD student at Marquette University, Stuart Ditsler, posted a Dave Barry quote on his office door. The quote read, “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” In September, the University administration had the quote taken down because it was “patently offensive.” On September 5, Distler received an email from the Philosophy Department Chair, James South, stating that there had been several complaints about the quote and that it had been removed as a result. […]

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Red Light Policies

  • Acceptable Use Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Internet Usage Policies
    Last updated: February 24, 2015

    Users may not do the following: … Engage in activities that harass, degrade, intimidate, demean, slander, defame, interfere with, or threaten others.

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  • Student Handbook: Harassment Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 24, 2015

    Harassment is defined as verbal, written or physical conduct directed at a person or a group based on color, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation where the offensive behavior is intimidating, hostile or demeaning, or which could or does result in mental, emotional or physical discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule or harm.

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  • Student Conduct Code: Community Expectations 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 24, 2015

    Marquette expects its members to behave toward one another with sensitivity, consideration, understanding, tolerance and an active concern for the welfare of others. The university is particularly concerned that its members show respect for others regardless of race, creed, gender, disability, sexual orientation or nationality and avoid all forms of harassing or offensive behaviors.

    The following acts may subject students to disciplinary action: … Participating in stalking, hazing or harassment, which includes actions or situations that do or could result in mental, emotional or physical discomfort, embarrassment, ridicule or endangerment whether intentionally, for fun or by consent. …

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Yellow Light Policies
  • Residence Life Policies and Procedures: Solicitation 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: February 24, 2015

    Solicitation is defined as any activity that seeks to entice or gain support from resident students at Marquette. Therefore, this policy applies to a wide range of activities, all of which are prohibited unless specifically approved by Residence Life. These activities may include advertising, selling, petitioning, campaigning for political candidates, distributing flyers in mail boxes and surveying residence hall students by telephone, mail or in person.

    Posters and signs in student rooms and windows are permissible provided they are in good taste. Residents may post signs, notices or posters on their doors as long as they do not damage the doors. Students may be asked remove items from their doors if the item may be considered offensive to their community. Students are not allowed to post unapproved items in common areas. See the hall director for approval.

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  • Student Conduct Code: Community Expectations 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Tolerance, Respect, and Civility
    Last updated: February 24, 2015

    The following acts may subject students to disciplinary action: … Physically or verbally abusing or threatening any person, on or off the campus, including especially such persons as student staff and Public Safety officers. … Engaging in behaviors that are disruptive to the educational community, in or out of the classroom.

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  • Division of Student Affairs: Bias Incidents 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Policies on Bias and Hate Speech
    Last updated: February 24, 2015

    A bias incident is any discriminatory or hurtful act that appears to be motivated or is perceived by the victim or victims to be motivated by race, ethnicity, religion, age, national origin, sex, disability, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, veteran or socioeconomic status. To be considered a bias incident, the act is not required to be a crime under any federal, state or local statutes. Colleges and universities may handle bias incidents through grievance procedures, such as the student conduct process, or through educational programs to enhance awareness and enable prevention of such acts.

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  • Student Organization Policies: Advertising and Publicity Policies 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Posting and Distribution Policies
    Last updated: February 24, 2015

    All student organization publicity must be approved by the Office of Student Development prior to campus posting.

    All advertising and publicity that contravenes the moral teachings of the Catholic faith or is contrary to Marquette’s Jesuit mission and philosophy will not be approved.

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Green Light Policies
  • Demonstrations Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Advertised Commitments to Free Expression
    Last updated: February 24, 2015

    It is clearly inevitable, and indeed essential, that the spirit of inquiry and challenge that the university seeks to encourage will produce many conflicts of ideas, opinions and proposals for action.

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  • Sexual Misconduct Policy 14-15

    Speech Code Category: Harassment Policies
    Last updated: February 24, 2015

    Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, demands, requests for sexual favors, innuendoes or any other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: … Such conduct is sufficiently severe and pervasive so as to alter the conditions of, or have the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with, an individual’s academic performance or work by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational, residential, or working environment.

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  • Marquette’s Removal of Mural Featuring Assata Shakur Creates Buzz

    May 20, 2015

    By Karen Herzog at Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel A Gender and Sexuality Resource Center created after Marquette University drew fire for rescinding a job offer to a lesbian candidate for a dean’s position is grabbing national headlines of its own after a mural it displayed was swiftly removed by campus officials, and the center’s director either resigned under pressure or was fired. Marquette officials on Wednesday declined to discuss the nature of the director’s sudden departure, saying only that Susannah Bartlow no longer is employed there and it’s a personnel matter. “We will work with the Center’s advisory board to […]

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  • Harvard Faculty Backs Democrats 96% of the Time, Says School Paper

    May 1, 2015

    By Maxim Lott at Fox News Republicans running for president might as well skip any fundraisers at Ivy League universities like Harvard, where a new analysis shows 96 percent of faculty donations over the last three years went to Democrats. Academia in general, and the elite northeastern schools in particular, have long been seen as a bastion for left-wing professors. Nationally, about two-thirds of college professors say they are liberal and less than a tenth identify themselves as conservative, according to one study. The imbalance at Harvard, uncovered by the student newspaper Harvard Crimson surprised even Harvard administrators. “If someone gets in trouble […]

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  • Waiting Games Goes on For Professor Caught in Marquette Speech Battle

    March 31, 2015

    By M.D. Kittle at WisconsinWatchdog.org MADISON, Wis. – There aren’t many academicians who know more about John F. Kennedy’s assassination than John McAdams. The Marquette University political science professor wrote the book on the conspiracy theories surrounding the 35th president’s public murder — and the web page. His work, described as “impressively comprehensive,” has spanned a 40-year academic career, most of which he has spent at Marquette. Now McAdams’ professional fate, in large part, rests in the hands of a jury of his peers presiding over one of the more intriguing speech- and academic-freedom cases to confront a U.S. college campus.This nationally respected […]

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  • Higher Ed., Lower Thinking: 2 States Dumb-Down Student Speech

    March 12, 2015

    By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow A university in Utah believes that students should not say or post anything that “disparages” or mocks any individual — even including Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara — while a university in Wisconsin prohibits all speech that can cause “emotional discomfort.” In the Beehive State, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) students at Dixie State University filed a lawsuit after the school refused to approve YAL promotional flyers that featured negative images of Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) executive director Robert Shibley argues that such […]

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  • Top 10 Worst Offenders of Free Speech on College Campuses

    March 6, 2015

    By Napp Nazworth at The Christian Post The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education released its list of the top 10 worst offenders of free speech on college campuses in 2014. The top 10, in alphabetical order, are: Brandeis University, California State University-Fullerton, Chicago State University, Georgetown University, Kansas Board of Regents, Marquette University, Modesto Junior College, U.S. Department’s of Education and Justice, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and University of Iowa. FIRE, founded in 1999, advocates for individual rights at American colleges and universities. It was founded by University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors and civil liberties attorney […]

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  • Marquette University Placed On FIRE’s List of Worst Free Speech Offenders After Tenure Fight With Conservative Professor

    March 3, 2015

    By Ashley Dobson at Red Alert Politics Foundation for Individual Rights in Education announced its fourth annual list of the top 10 threats to free speech on campus this week and to no one’s surprise, the major controversy at Marquette University had caught the attention of the organization. Marquette is currently in the process of trying to revoke the tenure of conservative professor John McAdams thanks to his personal blog. The controversy between John McAdams and Marquette stems from a blog post from last November in which he reported on his liberal colleague’s refusal to allow a conservative student to debate the topic […]

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  • Free Speech on Campus: The 10 Worst Offenders of 2014

    March 2, 2015

    By Greg Lukianoff at The Huffington Post College is the place where students should be encouraged to, as Yale promises, “think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.” Unfortunately, schools all across the country not only fall short on promises of free expression and academic freedom but openly suppress constitutionally protected speech on campus by using tools such as speech codes to shut down forms of expression that might be uncomfortable, disagreeable, or even offensive to some members of the campus community. To give a clearer picture of campus censorship, we at the Foundation for Individual Rights in […]

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  • Firing Professor McAdams: When a Catholic University Collides With Political Correctness

    February 18, 2015

    By Howard Kainz at The John William Pope Center In my 35 years of teaching in the Marquette University philosophy department, there were always some faculty (including the present chair) who were quite public about having “partners.” I never witnessed any discrimination against them, nor was I aware of any attempts on their part to impose ideology in classes. I never encountered any difficulty in discussing the pros and cons of “hot button” issues such as homosexuality or abortion in my ethics and philosophical anthropology classes. (My 1999 book, Politically Incorrect Dialogues: Topics Not Discussed in Polite Circles, was an […]

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  • Where Do You Get Punished For Defending Free Speech? At A University, Of Course

    February 16, 2015

    By Bob Kellogg at OneNewsNow A Wisconsin university is punishing a professor who criticized an instructor for telling her students to support same-sex marriage in her class. Professor John McAdams, a conservative political science professor, posted comments about the philosphy class on his Marquette Warrior blog, naming the instructor and describing the students’ account of the pro-homosexual propoganda he opposed. Marquette is now trying to take away McAdams’ tenure after suspending him last December pending a review. Peter Bonilla of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says McAdams’ suspension is a free-speech rights issue. If a faculty member can have his tenure revoked […]

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  • Editorial: Stop Squelching Free Speech At College Campuses

    February 13, 2015

    By Las Vegas Review-Journal At Las Vegas Review Journal College campuses are supposed to be marketplaces of ideas, where no one should be afraid to study and debate controversial ideas. If a university limits speech, it limits study — to say nothing of stomping our most important rights. Count the University of Michigan among the campuses caving to political correctness. Michigan has launched a $16,000 “inclusive language campaign” designed to teach students which words are considered offensive and should not be used around others. As part of the campaign, posters have been put up around campus warning students not to […]

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  • Marquette Professor Becomes Face of National Campus Free Speech Battle

    February 6, 2015

    By M.D. Kittle at Watchdog.org MADISON, Wis. — A respected academician for nearly 40 years, Marquette University’s John McAdams has now taken on the position of freedom fighter in the battle between speech and left-wing political correctness on college campuses. The embattled political science professor spoke to Wisconsin Reporter Thursday hours after the university began the process to terminate his tenure. McAdams has been on paid suspension and ordered to stay off campus since November, when the political conservative and frequent critic of Marquette administration criticized in his blog a graduate student teacher who wouldn’t allow a student in her philosophy class […]

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  • Marquette Moves To Fire Tenured Conservative Professor For Blog Post

    February 6, 2015

    By Kaitlyn Schallhorn at Campus Reform Marquette University has moved to fire a tenured conservative professor after he published a blog post about a graduate student instructor’s remarks to a student about gay marriage. Speaking by phone to Campus Reform, Dr. John McAdams confirmed his latest blog post for the Marquette Warrior saying the school has sent him a “Dear John” letter detailing its intent to revoke his tenure and fire him. “They have a history of persuading professors to go quietly and they may think that oh, they can sit down with my lawyer and I’ll agree to just […]

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  • Marquette University Administration Looks To Fire Conservative Tenured Prof

    February 6, 2015

    By Rick Moran at American Thinker The controversy over a blog posting by Marquette University professor John McAdams continues, as the administration informed the conservative professor that they would seek to revoke his tenure and fire him. McAdams published a blog on his Marquette Warrior site highlighting an incident in an ethics class where the grad student teaching the class told a student not to express his anti-gay marriage views because it may offend some people.  McAdams called the instructor out for stifling free speech and academic freedom, which resulted in some nasty e-mails to the grad student. The administration […]

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  • Marquette Professor Fired For Blogging, Academic Freedom Groups Up In Arms

    February 6, 2015

    By Matt Lamb at The College Fix McAdams ‘should have known’ his whistleblowing would lead to ‘threatening communications’ It has been a rough three months for Marquette University professor and acerbic blogger John McAdams. Because McAdams criticized a graduate teaching instructor for silencing an undergraduate owing to his traditional views on marriage, the school informed him last week his tenure is being revoked and he’ll be fired. Though academic observers debated whether McAdams should have named and shamed now-former Marquette grad student Cheryl Abbate – which led to his temporary banishment from campus and canceled classes – even McAdams’ critics are […]

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  • Firing A Faculty Blogger

    February 5, 2015

    By Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed A controversial professor on Wednesday revealed that Marquette University is trying to revoke his tenure and fire him for statements he made about a graduate instructor, with her name, on his blog. The university says his behavior was unprofessional and that he misled the public about what happened in a dispute between the graduate instructor and an undergraduate student. The professor, John McAdams, says he is being punished for his free speech. He also maintains that Marquette shouldn’t be attacking him, given that he is defending an undergraduate’s views against gay marriage that […]

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  • Breaking: Marquette To Fire Whistleblower Who Called Out Gay-Marriage Bullying

    February 5, 2015

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix Political science professor John McAdams will be out of a job for conduct that doesn’t appear to violate any explicit rules at Marquette University. His mortal sin? Blogging. College Fix readers are well aware of the McAdams’ saga: The conservative professor called out a graduate teaching instructor who told a student he couldn’t openly disagree with gay marriage in class – at a Catholic university, of all places. He got banned from campus, apparently because he named a grad student… who happens to have authority over undergrads. McAdams shared a lengthy letter he got […]

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  • Marquette Trying To Fire Tenured Professor Who Blogged About Grad Student Instructor’s Suppression Of Anti-Gay-Marriage Views

    February 5, 2015

    By Eugene Volokh at The Washington Post Scott Jaschik (Inside Higher Ed) has a detailed report; the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and John K. Wilson (the American Association of University Professors’ Academe blog) (writing for himself, not the AAUP) weigh in on Professor John McAdams’ side, and both link to relevant documents. I’m at a conference and traveling, but I thought I’d pass along the links, and an excerpt from the Inside Higher Ed post: A controversial professor on Wednesday revealed that Marquette University is trying to revoke his tenure and fire him for statements he made about […]

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  • Marquette University Trying to Fire Prof for Criticizing Pro-Gay Instructor

    February 5, 2015

    By Robby Soave at Reason Online Marquette University is moving forward with its plan to fire a tenured professor over his criticisms of an instructor who wouldn’t let any of her students speak out against gay marriage in class. The controversy is interesting for a couple reasons—a Catholic university is essentially punishing a professor whose views on gay marriage are perfectly aligned with church doctrine, for one thing—but most notably, raises important questions about the institution’s commitment to academic freedom. The professor, John McAdams, is known for espousing politically conservative views. He wrote on his blog about a situation involving […]

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  • Fight Erupts Over University’s Censorship Of Student Speech

    January 10, 2015

    By Michael F. Haverluck at WND The censorship of student speech at Marquette University has drawn the attention of several outside organizations, with one legal team demanding the reinstatement of a professor who blogged about an argument in which a teacher allegedly warned a student that any criticism of same-sex “marriage” and its related issues was banned. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, or WILL, has written a letter demanding that the school reinstate professor John McAdams to his tenured position because the university’s suspension over his advocacy for academic freedom violated the school’s own commitment to that cause, […]

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  • College Campuses’ Feelings-Based Tyranny

    December 19, 2014

    By John Leo at National Review Online At Marquette University, an ethics teacher refused to allow a class discussion on gay marriage because gays in the room might be offended by negative opinions. At Harvard Law, Dean Martha Minow cited “hurt” as her reason for sending a campus-wide e-mail excoriating a student who said, in a private message, that some research on race and intelligence might be worthwhile. At Oberlin, a thousand people signed a petition  to “discontinue the standard grading system” this semester for black students because they have ”suffered significant trauma” from the grand jury decisions in the Ferguson and […]

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  • Marquette Harassment Policy Insulates Students From Real World

    December 19, 2014

    By Christian Schneider at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Last Sunday afternoon, my phone buzzed with a bit of fan mail. The sender said he hopes my daughters “get touched by a big black guy” who will “turn them out on crack,” and invited my “soul mate” to perform an act so vile just mentioning it would get one thrown out of an adult video convention. (And I’m pretty sure Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t appreciate being referred to in that manner.) Like 95% of the adult population, I shrugged it off and moved on with my life. Most of us are pretty good […]

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  • Marquette U. Grad Student She’s Being Targeted After Ending A Class Discussion On Gay Marriage

    November 20, 2014

    By Colleen Flaherty at Inside Higher Ed Leading classroom discussions — especially those about controversial ideas — is a juggling act that can challenge even the most seasoned professors. There’s a clock to watch, student interest to gauge, and facts, opinions and personalities to navigate. Success or flop, though, most of the time those discussions end at the classroom door. But that wasn’t the case at Marquette University over the last month. Thanks to a cell phone and the internet, a graduate student instructor of philosophy there has found herself at the center of a firestorm over how she treated […]

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  • Marquette Instructor Who Silenced Student Wants Cyberbullying Policy

    November 20, 2014

    By Greg Piper at The College Fix Following up on our story about Marquette University instructor Cheryl Abbate and her dispute with a student who complained she wouldn’t let students openly disagree with gay marriage in a philosophy class: Abbate is now going on the offensive. In a thorough summary of the dispute – which oddly leaves out the alleged role of philosophy department chair Nancy Snow in intimidating the student – Inside Higher Edreports that Abbate is calling for the school to crack down on the people who criticized her: Abbate, however, said she hoped Marquette would “use this event […]

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  • Student Told He Can’t Openly Disagree With Gay Marriage In Class At Jesuit College

    November 17, 2014

    By Matt Lamb at The College Fix Marquette University, a Jesuit institution, is in hot water with both Catholic conservatives and free speech advocates for a philosophy instructor’s alleged discrimination against a student for privately disagreeing with gay marriage. The student, who asked to remain anonymous, told The College Fix that the chair of the department is trying to cover up her own involvement in scolding the student and pressuring him to identify a university employee whom he asked for help in the dispute. The accusations were first aired by Marquette political science professor John McAdams, who knows the student, […]

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  • Neil Gaiman and fans of sci-fi classic ‘Firefly’ save free speech on campus!

    December 28, 2011

    Despite my 10 years working to defend free speech on campus, university censors keep finding new ways to surprise me. This year a campus in the University of Wisconsin system managed to do something that offended me both as a First Amendment lawyer and as a sci-fi fan, two parts of my life that I thought would never intersect. As I reported back in September, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, James Miller, was threatened with potential criminal charges just for posting a quote from the beloved but short-lived sci-fi classic Firefly outside his door and, then, for having the temerity to object to the […]

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  • Banned in Marquette: No free speech zone for the words of Dave Barry

    September 29, 2009

    I worked for three years on the sixth floor of One Herald Plaza and never bumped into the infamous Dave Barry. He never invited me up to the roof to fire potatoes into Biscayne Bay from his gas-powered spud gun. I worked for the afternoon Miami News and he for the morning Miami Herald. I did sit at home on Sunday mornings and laugh till I cried over his humor column in the Tropic Sunday supplement section of the Miami Herald. I especially enjoyed his surprised discovery of the unique flora and fauna of Dade County when the paper finally […]

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  • Campus Alert: Banning Dave Barry

    June 11, 2007

    As college students head off to summer vacation, it’s time to look back at the academic year’s most ridiculous case. When it came to being just plain nuts, one university distinguished itself above all others this year: Marquette University in Wisconsin and its crackdown on Dave Barry. That’s right: Even all-American humorist Dave Barry is subject to censorship on our nation’s college campuses, as Ph.D. student Stuart Ditsler found out last fall. Ditsler didn’t think he was doing anything objectionable by posting a Dave Barry quote on his office door last October—but James South, the head of Marquette’s philosophy department, […]

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  • It’s all a free-speech zone

    October 22, 2006

    Milwaukee Journal Sentinel   Editorial We were under the impression that the entire United States is a free-speech zone. Which is why the phrase’s use is puzzling in the case of a teaching aide and graduate student at Marquette University who had a quote from a well-known humorist removed from his office door recently. The quote from Dave Barry was, “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” Philosophy department chairman and associate professor James South called the quote […]

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  • Free speech group ridicules Marquette for removal of Barry quote

    October 19, 2006

    A national free speech group lambasted Marquette University administrators Wednesday for removing a quote by humorist Dave Barry from a graduate student’s office door. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education criticized a Marquette administrator for removing this Barry quote from the office door of doctoral student Stuart Ditsler last month: "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." Philosophy Department Chair James South said in a Sept. 5 e-mail that he removed the quotation, which was posted in […]

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  • University bans humor quotation from student’s door

    October 19, 2006

    by Nathan Burchfiel Cybercast News Service Officials at Marquette University have ordered a Ph.D. student to remove a quotation critical of the federal government from his office door, because the hallway the door faces is not a “free speech zone.” In August, Stuart Distler, a doctoral student teacher, posted a quotation from humor columnist Dave Barry on his office door. “As Americans, we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless,” the sign stated. “I refer, of course, to the federal government.” On Sept. 5, Philosophy Department Chairman James South […]

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  • I am not making this up: Dave Barry is “patently offensive”

    October 18, 2006

    The free-speech fun squad at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports on the latest suppression of expression on campus: In August, a grad student at Marquette University in Milwaukee posted a Dave Barry quote on his office door. The quote reads: “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” On September 5, says FIRE: Philosophy Department Chair James South sent [student Stuart] Ditsler an e-mail stating that he had received several complaints and therefore removed the […]

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  • Prof sails against liberal tide

    April 17, 2005

    WILMINGTON — The door to the office of Mike Adams, associate professor of criminal justice at UNC-Wilmington, seems more like a window into his soul. The bumper stickers, fliers, advertisements, printouts and photographs attached to the door provide a vivid sociopolitical view of the office’s occupant. Can’t feed ‘em, Don’t breed ‘em. Every fourth baby dies from Choice. Straight white male — The final minority. So you’re a feminist. Isn’t that cute. The door is so cluttered that its earlier decorations have been all but covered — most notably the sign declaring Adams’ office to be the campus “Men’s Resource […]

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  • After Public Criticism, Marquette Removes Mural and Announces Faculty Departure

    May 22, 2015

    Earlier this week, Marquette University painted over a mural in its Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) depicting Assata Shakur (also known as Joanne Chesimard), a woman who escaped from prison and fled to Cuba after her conviction for murdering a New Jersey state trooper in 1973, earning her a spot on the FBI’s most wanted list. Now the university has stated that the director of the GSRC, Susannah Bartlow, is “no longer an employee with Marquette University,” leading media to presume she was fired because of the controversial mural. Although the mural had been on display in the GSRC […]

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  • Speech Code of the Month: Marquette University

    March 9, 2015

    FIRE announces its Speech Code of the Month for March 2015: Marquette University. If you’ve been following higher ed news or reading The Torch recently, you are probably aware that Marquette University is no friend of free speech. In fact, FIRE recently named Marquette one of the ten worst abusers of free speech for its “chilling campaign to revoke the tenure of political science professor John McAdams due to writings on his private blog.” It may not surprise you to learn, therefore, that Marquette also maintains highly restrictive speech codes. While Marquette’s policies impermissibly restrict a variety of student speech, […]

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  • Marquette’s Consistent Inconsistency on Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Civility

    March 4, 2015

    Over recent weeks, my colleague Peter Bonilla has treated Torch readers to a series of articles on the case of Marquette University professor John McAdams, who faces losing tenure for criticizing graduate instructor Cheryl Abbate’s direction to a student not to voice his opposition to same-sex marriage in class because it might offend his classmates. Peter’s three-part series explored Marquette’s disregard for due process and its subversion of basic free speech principles, and it thoroughly refuted Marquette’s absurd argument that the case is not about academic freedom and free speech. But we’re not through with Marquette just yet. Today, I […]

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  • Yes, Marquette’s Plan to Fire John McAdams Is About Free Speech and Academic Freedom

    March 3, 2015

    In two previous Torch entries on Professor John McAdams’s fight to keep his tenure at Marquette University, I’ve focused on Marquette’s abuses of McAdams’s due process rights and the subversions of basic free speech principles it has used first to justify his suspension, and then to justify its aim of revoking his tenure. In this third and final entry McAdams’s case, my focus is on perhaps the most outrageous and dangerous argument Marquette has made to defend its position. In a statement released February 4, Marquette president Michael R. Lovell argued that the university’s designs against McAdams’s tenure “have everything […]

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  • FIRE Announces 10 Worst Colleges for Free Speech in 2014

    March 2, 2015

    PHILADELPHIA, March 2, 2015—More than half of America’s top colleges maintain speech codes that blatantly violate First Amendment standards. But every year the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) takes a closer look at the previous year’s incidents of college censorship to determine the nation’s 10 worst abusers of student and faculty free speech rights. This year’s list of the 10 worst colleges for free speech—published with detailed descriptions at The Huffington Post—includes many public colleges or universities bound by the First Amendment. Some of them, on the other hand, are private colleges that, though not required by the […]

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  • Marquette’s Dangerous Subversion of Free Speech

    February 16, 2015

    Last week, I wrote about the systemic due process failures at Marquette University, which plans to fire tenured political science professor John McAdams for criticism of a graduate student and philosophy instructor published on his blog. As I wrote, “No one concerned for fundamental fairness in campus proceedings should be okay with the extent to which Marquette has flouted its obligations in McAdams’s case.” In this second of my three-part series of Torch entries examining the myriad faults with Marquette’s case against McAdams, I focus on Marquette’s dangerous subversion of basic free speech principles to suit its purposes. Marquette is […]

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  • The Travesty of Due Process at Marquette

    February 10, 2015

    As we announced last week, Marquette University is moving to revoke the tenure of professor John McAdams and fire him from the Marquette faculty because of opinions and criticisms voiced on his blog, Marquette Warrior. The controversial decision was triggered by McAdams’s criticism of a graduate instructor, who he felt wrongly suppressed the expression of certain opinions in her “Theory of Ethics” philosophy course. After the blog post gained widespread media attention, Marquette unilaterally suspended McAdams, and on January 30 it informed him that it intended to revoke his tenure in response to his writing. In this first of a three-part […]

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  • After Gay Marriage Flap, Marquette Moves to Fire Tenured Prof

    February 5, 2015

    MILWAUKEE, Wisc., February 5, 2015—Disregarding freedom of speech, academic freedom, and its own policies, Marquette University will attempt to revoke Professor John McAdams’s tenure and fire him. Marquette is taking action against McAdams, a political conservative and frequent critic of the administration, supposedly in response to his online criticism of a graduate student instructor who told a student not to oppose same-sex marriage in her class. Marquette had previously suspended McAdams without due process, treated him as though he presented a violent threat, and cancelled his current semester’s classes. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has called for […]

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  • Marquette Professor’s Lawyer Smacks Down Dean’s Weak Justification for Suspension

    January 22, 2015

    Over a month after he was suspended from teaching and banned from campus, Marquette University professor John McAdams has yet to be presented with clear disciplinary charges against him. Marquette’s Dean of Klingler College of Arts and Sciences Richard Holz did, however, offer his explanation as to why the university was “review[ing McAdams’s] conduct and considering all appropriate responses” in a letter dated January 2. Yesterday, McAdams’s lawyer and president of the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) Rick Esenberg wrote a letter thoroughly explaining why the university’s statements thus far have been self-contradictory and insufficient to justify McAdams’s […]

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  • Marquette Fails to Follow Procedures in Suspending Professor

    December 30, 2014

    Earlier this month, Marquette University professor John McAdams was suspended from his teaching duties, apparently for a November 9 blog post criticizing a class instructor. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), representing McAdams, wrote a letter to the university (PDF) on December 22 arguing that the suspension violates Marquette’s explicit promises to its professors and must be rescinded. As FIRE reported in November, McAdams’s blog post alleged that a graduate student teaching an ethics class told her students that the issue of gay rights was settled and that it would not be discussed in class. The instructor was, […]

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  • Eyes on Marquette University as Faculty Blogger Suspended

    December 18, 2014

    In recent weeks, FIRE has written about a controversy at Marquette University brought to light by political science professor John McAdams, in which an instructor informed a student that expressing opposition to same-sex marriage was not appropriate for a classroom setting. We expressed our concerns in a pair of Torch entries. This week, FIRE and others have learned that McAdams has been suspended from teaching and banned from the Marquette campus while he is under investigation. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is among the outlets that have reported this development, and law professor Eugene Volokh has offered his preliminary impressions of […]

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  • On Marquette Classroom Controversy, Rebuttal Ignores Facts

    November 18, 2014

    On his philosophy news site Daily Nous, University of South Carolina associate professor Justin Weinberg responded today to a blog post I wrote about hostility towards certain viewpoints at Marquette University. In his post, Weinberg argued that graduate student Cheryl Abbate was the “target of a political attack” by one of her students and that she was simply abiding by Marquette’s harassment policy, not censoring student speech, when she told him certain viewpoints weren’t welcome. Weinberg’s reasoning is flawed on several levels. To review: A student in Abbate’s ethics class objected to her allegedly stating that “everybody agrees” on the […]

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  • Marquette U. Prohibits Disagreeing with Classmates—If You Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

    November 11, 2014

    Marquette University, a Roman Catholic institution in Wisconsin, is swiftly establishing itself as a place where not all viewpoints are welcome—even if those viewpoints align with those of the Catholic Church. On his (non-university-affiliated) Marquette Warrior blog, Marquette political science professor John McAdams wrote this weekend about an incident that occurred in Cheryl Abbate’s “Theory of Ethics” class. McAdams reported: [Abbate] listed some issues on the board, and came to “gay rights.” She then airily said that “everybody agrees on this, and there is no need to discuss it.” [A] student, a conservative who disagrees with some of the gay […]

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  • Marquette Harassment Training Forbids Certain Viewpoints

    October 1, 2014

    FIRE hopes readers are hungry for more news about problematic Title IX training courses, because professors and graduate assistants at Marquette University in Wisconsin are evidently required to complete a course that grossly misstates what kind of expression is acceptable in the university workplace. Campus Reform and Marquette Warrior, a blog run by Marquette political science professor John McAdams, both have posted screen captures and information on the course, which is designed to inform staff, including faculty members, about sexual harassment and sexual violence. McAdams notes on his blog that the course starts off by stating that unlawful harassment must […]

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  • Marquette University Threatens Academic Freedom with Chilling Investigation of Classroom Speech

    December 29, 2011

    Over at the blog Marquette Warrior, John McAdams provides a good example of how unwarranted investigations of campus speech can cause a deeply problematic “chilling effect” at a university. Universities must not pursue investigations of protected expression just because someone submits a complaint; as soon as it is clear that the expression in question is protected speech, the inquiry must end, even if there are other factual disputes. Prolonging the investigation tells everyone on campus that the university will pursue charges against you no matter how frivolous or malicious the complaint. The likely result is that people self-censor and keep […]

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  • This Month in FIRE History: Muzzling Dave Barry at Marquette

    October 17, 2011

    Fresh on the heels of our case at the University of Wisconsin–Stout, it seems appropriate to look back five years at a similar case involving an overzealous administration and an “offensive” poster. In October 2006, Marquette Ph.D. student Stuart Ditsler came to FIRE for help after Philosophy Department Chair James South removed a flyer quoting well-known humor writer Dave Barry from his office door. The quote read, “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” Despite the fact that […]

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  • This Month in FIRE History: Dave Barry Speaks Out on College Censorship

    July 30, 2010

    Exactly one year ago, FIRE released a video of Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry in which he discusses the value of free speech on college campuses. The video, which now has over 24,000 hits, shows Barry’s perspective on FIRE’s work and why it’s so important. In 2006, Barry’s writing was the subject of a FIRE case when a Ph.D. student at Marquette University posted a quote from one of Barry’s columns on his office door that the administration deemed “patently offensive”—a legal term of art usually used in the context of evaluating hardcore pornography. The quote read, “As Americans we […]

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  • Marquette’s Strained Relationship with Freedom of Expression

    May 11, 2010

    Marquette University made headlines recently for offering the job of Dean of Arts and Sciences to sexuality and gender scholar Jodi O’Brien. Marquette is a major Catholic university, and although O’Brien is open about being a lesbian, there is no evidence that this was an obstacle for either the search committee or Marquette administrators. Marquette, after all, has an anti-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation as a protected status. But that’s not why the appointment made headlines. The reason the story is in the news is that, shortly after offering O’Brien the deanship, Marquette rescinded the offer. Marquette President Father […]

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  • Dave Barry, Award-Winning Humorist, Speaks Out on College Censorship in New FIRE Video

    July 30, 2009

    Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist and author of more than 30 books, is no stranger to critics trying to censor his writing. The nationally syndicated humorist has written some of our nation’s funniest columns—and with the First Amendment on his side, he’s been winning the battle for free speech for over 25 years. Today, we are releasing a new video that features Barry discussing why freedom of expression is important to him and how today’s politically correct college campuses are creating a culture of censorship that stifles humor writing and the opinions of millions of students across the country. […]

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  • Dave Barry, Award-Winning Humorist, Speaks Out on College Censorship in New FIRE Video

    July 30, 2009

    PHILADELPHIA, July 30, 2009—Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist and author of more than 30 books, is no stranger to critics trying to censor his writing. The nationally syndicated humorist has written some of our nation’s funniest columns—and with the First Amendment on his side, he’s been winning the battle for free speech for over 25 years. Today, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) releases a new video that features Barry discussing why freedom of expression is important to him and how today’s politically correct college campuses are creating a culture of censorship that stifles humor writing and […]

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  • Radical Speech: Dave Barry Talks About Politically Correct Campuses

    July 30, 2009

    Dave Barry, Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist and author of more than 30 books, is no stranger to critics trying to censor his writing. The nationally syndicated humorist has written some of our nation’s funniest columns—and with the First Amendment on his side, he’s been winning the battle for free speech for over 25 years. This new video from FIRE features Barry discussing why freedom of expression is important to him and how today’s politically correct college campuses are creating a culture of censorship that stifles humor writing and the opinions of millions of students across the country.

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  • Today’s ‘Campus Alert’: Banning Dave Barry

    June 11, 2007

    Our Campus Alert column in today’s New York Post focuses on the FIRE case we have crowned our most ridiculous case of the past academic year—Marquette University’s banning of a Dave Barry quote.   Last October, Ph.D. student Stuart Ditsler posted a Barry quote on his office door that read, “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” Within days, Philosophy Department Chair James South deemed the quote “patently offensive” and ordered its removal, all the while maintaining in […]

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  • Looking for a Straight Answer from Marquette University

    January 15, 2007

    Marquette University’s censorship of a Dave Barry quote was one of the more confounding cases of 2006. Marquette’s reaction to the quote—a benign criticism of the government—went from baffling to exasperating when administrators tried to justify the censorship, first by claiming that the quote was “patently offensive,” then that office doors are not “free speech zones,” then that it was only in “the context of a complaint” that Marquette is willing to forsake its community members’ free speech rights. In the hope that Marquette will push past these excuses to clarify whether students and faculty are allowed to express themselves […]

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  • Still No Answer from Marquette

    December 27, 2006

    As the year draws to a close and we reflect on all of FIRE’s activities in 2006, the case of Stuart Ditsler at Marquette University stands out not only for its absurdity but also because the case has yet to be resolved. Torch readers will recall Ditsler’s case from earlier this fall, when administrators removed a Dave Barry quote from his office door in Marquette’s philosophy department because they deemed it “patently offensive.” The quote—which could not be considered “patently offensive” (a term usually reserved for hardcore pornography) by any stretch of the imagination—read: “As Americans we must always remember […]

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  • American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Questions Marquette

    December 5, 2006

    The AFT features FIRE in its new AFT On Campus column “Academic Freedom Forum.” Discussing the Stuart Ditsler case, the column reads: We think of faculty doors as a place for posting office hours, inspiring quotes, and other provocative or silly items at the occupant’s discretion. But at Marquette University, one philosophy grad student has found Dave Barry is beyond the pale. After briefly discussing the details of the case, the column asks, “A free speech violation, or just an indignity of the academic pecking order?” Perhaps it is both, but as FIRE points out in its latest letter to […]

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  • FIRE Continues to Follow Dave Barry Incident at Marquette

    November 15, 2006

    FIRE continues to follow the case of Stuart Ditsler, the graduate student at Marquette University who was forced to remove an innocuous political quote by humorist Dave Barry from his office door. Although the Marquette administration claimed that the situation was resolved within the philosophy department, Ditsler told FIRE he was never notified of this alleged resolution. So the question remains: are students and faculty now permitted to post materials on their office doors at Marquette?   FIRE wrote to Marquette a second time, hoping to clarify the university’s position and establish a firm commitment to free speech on campus. […]

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  • Student Editorial Highlights FIRE Case at Marquette University

    November 8, 2006

    A recent editorial in The Daily Barometer, the student newspaper at Oregon State University, picked up on the absurdity of FIRE’s recent case at Marquette University where the chair of the philosophy department, Dr. James South, removed a quote from humorist Dave Barry from a graduate student’s office door because South found the quote “patently offensive.” The quote read: As Americans, we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.  If the quote doesn’t seem adequately nocuous to create any sort of […]

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  • Marquette’s Student Newspaper on Censorship at Marquette

    October 30, 2006

    The Marquette Warrior blog brought to my attention an editorial by the Marquette Tribune, Marquette’s student newspaper, on the university’s failure to respond to FIRE’s letter about the philosophy department’s censorship of a Dave Barry quote.  Usually, student newspapers are fairly reliable friends of liberty on campus. However, this does not appear to be the case with the Marquette Tribune, which criticizes Marquette President Robert Wild for not answering FIRE’s letter on time, but adds: The university could have easily defended South’s actions with its Student Handbook policy. Despite the romantic impressions of some, Marquette is a private institution—not a […]

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  • A Belated Response from Marquette

    October 24, 2006

    FIRE just received Marquette University’s response to our September 27 letter. Marquette said publicly that it sent us the letter on October 16, and the letter is indeed dated October 16, but the postmark is dated October 19, the day after FIRE’s press release on Marquette’s censorship of a Dave Barry quote. Curious indeed. Even more curious is the explanation that Marquette President Robert Wild gives for censoring the quote. He writes, “the original difficulty arose out of a misunderstanding… [W]hen the quotation cited was posted, it was without attribution; therefore, someone reading the quotation may not have understood the […]

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  • No Marquette Letter Yet

    October 20, 2006

    Although it has appeared on several blogs, FIRE has still not received the response from Marquette University it claims to have sent on October 16. Perhaps the letter got lost it the mail, or perhaps Marquette backdated the letter in order to appear responsive to FIRE’s concerns. In any event, FIRE hopes that it will soon be able to see this mysterious letter.

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  • Jesuit university faces fresh heat

    October 20, 2006

    The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education is petitioning Marquette University to reconsider allowing a graduate student to post a quote by humorist Dave Barry on the student’s office door. The quote, which was removed two months ago by MU Philosophy Department Chair James South, is “pretty tame,” according to FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. “Marquette has very strong and clear promises of free speech,” Lukianoff said. “But they wouldn’t even tolerate a quote by light-hearted humorist Dave Barry.” The quote that appeared on the door, according to FIRE, read: “As Americans, we must always remember that we all have a […]

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  • ‘Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’ Covers Marquette/Dave Barry Controversy

    October 19, 2006

    The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covered FIRE’s recent case at Marquette University where an administrator removed an innocuous quote by comedian Dave Barry from the office door of graduate student Stuart Ditsler, claiming the quote was “patently offensive.” The quote read: “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.”   In a bizarre twist, the article claims that Marquette President Robert Wild sent a letter to FIRE dated October 16, claiming that the offending quote was removed from the door […]

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  • Marquette Controversy Rapidly Gaining Attention

    October 19, 2006

    FIRE’s involvement at Marquette University has been picked up by the Associated Press, Special Report with Brit Hume on Fox News, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Add to this blogs on several websites—from organizations including the John Locke Foundation and the Cato Institute to Dave Barry himself—and numerous responses from individuals who have written to Marquette’s administration in support of Stuart Ditsler. Considering the amount of feedback FIRE has received on this case, we hope the university will soon see the error of its ways and decide that office doors (which have traditionally been places where professors and students post […]

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  • TV Critic Glenn Garvin Calls Evil by its Name: Dave Barry

    October 18, 2006

    Miami Herald television critic Glenn Garvin has caught wind of FIRE’s recent case at Marquette University, where an administrator removed a quote from comedian (read: Evil Incarnate) Dave Barry that a graduate student had posted on his office door. Garvin came down squarely against the raw tyranny of freedom of expression and against the “practically unfathomable evil of Dave Barry.” On the Changing Channels blog of the Miami Herald, Garvin lauds the bravery of the “heroic Anti-Dave Freedom Fighters of Marquette University,” especially “Thought Police Chief James South,” chair of the Marquette philosophy department, whose quick thinking saved Marquette University […]

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  • The Good, the Bad, and the Just Plain Silly

    October 18, 2006

    As a free speech organization, we see pretty much every type of censorship out there. People are frequently censored at colleges and universities for engaging in controversial political speech. Other times, people are censored for engaging in speech that is crude and repugnant, but that is wholly protected. And then there are times that people seem to be censored for no reason at all. Today’s case at Marquette University is one of those instances. In the spirit of levity, here are a few more of the silliest instances of censorship we’ve seen here at FIRE: Gonzaga University tried to punish […]

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  • Dave Barry Quote Sparks Dispute at Marquette University

    October 18, 2006

    Today’s press release highlights a free speech dispute at Marquette University in Milwaukee. Philosophy Ph.D. student Stuart Ditsler posted a quote by writer and humorist Dave Barry on his office door. The quote read, “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” Seems harmless enough.   But within days, Ditsler received an e-mail from Philosophy Department Chair James South, who had removed the quote after receiving complaints. South wrote, “I’m afraid that hallways and office doors are not ‘free-speech […]

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  • Free-speech group decries Marquette removal of quote

    October 18, 2006

    Marquette University came under attack from a national free-speech organization on Wednesday after a university administrator refused to allow a quote from humorist Dave Barry to remain posted on the office door of four teaching assistants. The quote: “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” Stuart Ditsler, a teaching assistant and graduate student in the philosophy department, said he put it on the door of an office he shares with several other graduate students several weeks before classes […]

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  • Free speech group ridicules Marquette for removal of Barry quote

    October 18, 2006

    A national free speech group is criticizing Marquette University administrators today for removing a quote by humorist Dave Barry from the office door of a graduate student. The Barry quote on Stuart Ditsler’s door read: “As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful, and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government.” Philosophy Department Chair James South says he took the quotation down after receiving several complaints. An e-mail released by Philadelphia’s Foundation for Individual Rights in Education says South explained that the hallways and office doors at […]

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  • Marquette Bans Dave Barry Quote from Office Door

    October 18, 2006

    MILWAUKEE, Wis., October 18, 2006—Writer and humorist Dave Barry probably never expected that one of his jokes would spark a university free speech dispute. But in early September, a Marquette University administrator removed a Barry quote about the federal government from Ph.D. student Stuart Ditsler’s office door because the quote was “patently offensive.” Facing this arbitrary exercise of political censorship, Ditsler contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help. “There have been several high-profile free speech controversies on campuses recently, such as at Columbia this month. But incidents like this one at Marquette and on other campuses […]

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  • FIRE Letter to Marquette University President Robert A. Wild, September 27, 2006

    September 27, 2006

    September 27, 2006 President Robert A. Wild, S.J. Marquette University O’Hara Hall, 101/102 P.O. Box 1881 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201-1881 Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (414-288-3161) Dear President Wild: As you can see from our directors and board of advisors, FIRE unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, due process, legal equality, voluntary association, and, in this case, freedom of speech and academic freedom on America’s college campuses. Our website, www.thefire.org, will give you a greater sense of our identity and of our activities. FIRE […]

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