Free Speech and Academic Freedom Under Attack

503 Signatures
Target Name Target Organization
Michael Lovell (Marquette University President)
Richard Holz (Dean of Klingler College of Arts and Sciences)

Marquette University is terminating Professor John McAdams because on his private blog he criticized a graduate teaching assistant for disallowing a student’s right to express a viewpoint opposing gay marriage when the subject was raised in a philosophy class. The student had been told by the instructor that he could not discuss his viewpoint in class because it would be “homophobic.” Professor McAdams defended the right of the student to state his opinion when the issue arose and criticized the instructor’s limitation of individuals’ right to speak their opinions in an environment that should foster the free exchange of ideas. This was, after all, a philosophy class, and one at a Catholic university that presumably must respect Catholic teaching that opposes redefining marriage. The University, in its response, has essentially confirmed that Dr. McAdams’ concerns are well-founded: it is taking steps to fire McAdams for expressing his views. 

Sign this letter to Marquette’s Administration letting them know that you believe Dr. McAdams has been wronged and that the University damages its credibility and reputation by acting in such a manner. Demand that they reinstate Professor McAdams, issue a public apology for their disgraceful actions and recommit to the values of free speech, inclusiveness, tolerance for diverse viewpoints and academic freedom which such an institution ought to exemplify.

The Petition

Reinstate Dr. McAdams!

I am very concerned to learn of the University’s actions regarding Professor John C. McAdams. An institution of higher learning should be a place that fosters the free exchange of ideas, rather than silencing certain opinions that run contrary to those held by many elite in academia.

The subject of the definition of marriage is something about which the American people have many varying opinions, and a topic that sharply divides the country. A poll by the Associated Press released just this week shows that 44% of Americans support same-sex ‘marriage’ while 39% oppose it. Sadly, in many sectors of society including academia, one side is continually threatened and bullied out of the conversation. Those who believe in marriage as the union of one man and one woman are consistently targeted for harassing lawsuits, and threatened with loss of their jobs and livelihoods merely for expressing their opinion (which is often based on their deeply held religious beliefs). It is disconcerting enough that this happens in the public square, in the media, and in the workplace. But that this kind of coercive bullying should happen at a University—and one professing to be a Catholic, Jesuit University at that!—is deeply troubling and, frankly, inexcusable.

This past week, the world’s most famous and influential Jesuit, His Holiness Pope Francis, used his powerful voice to urge the people of Slovakia to approve a national referendum protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Apparently if he had attempted to share this message in a Marquette University philosophy class, he would have been prevented from speaking. Such censorship and abandonment of Catholic values including tolerance and inclusion is shocking.

I demand that you reinstate Dr. McAdams and issue a public apology. Marquette has sent a dangerous message with these actions, namely that it is acceptable to silence a viewpoint in public discourse through bullying and intimidation simply because it runs afoul of “politically correct” notions. You must correct the record in this regard and recommit Marquette to the values of free speech and academic freedom which should lie at the heart of any institution of higher learning.


Sign this Petition