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Milwaukee County Judge Backs Marquette’s Decision To Suspend Professor

John McAdams Suspended In November 2014 For Blog Post Criticizing TA

Marquette University
Marquette University (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge David Hansher ruled in favor of Marquette University’s suspension of former professor John McAdams.

McAdams was suspended by the university in November 2014 after he criticized a teaching assistant on his conservative blog for not allowing a student who opposed same-sex marriage to speak in class.

The post spawned online harassment of the TA who later transferred to another university. McAdams’ attorney, Rick Esenberg with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, said the ruling sets a bad precedent.

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“Although on paper the university has promised you freedom of speech and academic freedom, that promise is only good as long as the university or a majority of your colleagues like what you have to say,” Esenberg said.

Esenberg said McAdams had the right to express himself.

“He strenuously disagreed with the teaching assistant,” Esenberg said. “If we can’t disagree with each other on issues of important public concern, then what’s left for freedom of expression?”

Marquette President Michael Lovell said in a statement he is pleased the court agreed a personal attack on a student is unacceptable. He said the court’s ruling proves academic freedom has responsibilities along with its rights.

Esenberg said McAdams wants to return to the university and plans to appeal.

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