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Marquette U. Suspends John McAdams, Orders Him Off-Campus

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Marquette Univ. Suspends Prof. John McAdams, Orders him off-campus

The Washington Post

By Eugene Volokh

December 17, 2014


JFK Assassination section of Prof. McAdams’ blog


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In my opinion, colleges and universities of all places should be free-speech zones, not controlled-speech places. Again IMO what Marquette has done to McAdams is a travesty.

Yes a free speech and all truth zone.....all truth zone.....all truth zone.....all truth zone.....


Back in 1996, Probe Magazine did an article on some of the peculiarities of people with interesting backgrounds who now had become prominent on the Internet in the JFK field. We noted one Ed Dolan, a retired Marine captain and former CIA employee who then posted on Compuserv. (Probe, Vol. 3 No. 3, p. 12) Gerald McNally was another personage of interest. He was a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers, the group founded by David Phillips as a reaction to the investigations of the Church Committee. (ibid)

It was in this then nascent milieu that McAdams' pugnacious style and his rightwing politics first began to warrant attention. For instance, a newcomer to the Internet once wrote about him: "McAdams is a spook isn't he? I am concerned about McAdams and his ilk. The stuff he puts up on the 'Net is pure disinformation ... He doesn't respond to the facts, he just discredits witnesses and posters." (ibid, p. 13) As we shall see, the last sentence was prescient. For McAdams at times will invent facts in order to discredit the "buffs". But in addition, there was the frequency of his posting. At times it was fifty posts per day. And beyond that, he was posting on five different forums. (ibid) Who has the time or energy to do such things if one has a full time job? Especially to do some of the silly acts that McAdams performed. For instance, according to Lisa Pease, McAdams tried to deny that Clay Shaw was ever actually part of the very suspicious Italian agency called Permindex. So someone finally got tired of McAdams' malarkey and scanned in Shaw's own Who's Who in the Southwest listing, where he himself listed his membership in Permindex. So what did McAdams do? He then went to another of his member forums and repeated the same canard: that Shaw was not on the Board of Permindex.

When McAdams' attempt to take over alt.conspiracy.jfk did not work out, he started his own forum. The problem was that this was a moderated forum. And McAdams does not like any vigorous and knowledgeable viewpoint criticizing the Warren Commission. One of his strongest antagonists online was Dr. Gary Aguilar. As noted, McAdams intimated he was a drug user-which he is not. Aguilar was quite rightly outraged by this and got in contact with Marquette officials. This resulted in a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The lead line was as follows: "A Marquette University professor who hurled profane insults across the Internet ... has been chastised by university officials ..." (MJS, 3/24/96) Gary Aguilar was quoted as saying, "He's extremely mean spirited. What academic purpose can be served by calling people these names?"

What the associate professor was doing of course was the familiar counter-intelligence tactic of polarization. One way to do this is to demonize the opponent. So not only was Aguilar a "buff", he was a drug using buff. The message being: Is this the kind of person you would trust for information on a controversial subject like the JFK case? Of course, the fact that Aguilar was very knowledgeable about the medical evidence, much more so than McAdams was or ever will be, this formed part of the plan. The other part was censorship. Jeff Orr once wrote that, "I didn't know that the JFK assassination newsgroup I was posting on was affiliated to the McAdams website; until after my posts were removed and I was blocked from making further posts." The reason Jeff was censored was because McAdams said his information amounted to poorly sourced-you got it-- "factoids". So Jeff then found more exact sources and footnotes. He reposted the information, which was about why Ruby had to kill Oswald. In a matter of minutes, that post was removed by McAdams. Jeff concluded that "Whether he is a paid disinformation specialist, or unpaid, he is definitely promoting information that is knowingly false to him." (post of Orr, 2/08/00, at Dave's ESL Cafe)


"I had my marching orders."

Matt Labash to Gary Aguilar

In the time period of 1993-94, the backlash against Oliver Stone's film was in high gear. The 30th anniversary of Kennedy's assassination was the occasion for a particularly bad CBS special hosted by Dan Rather. But also, Bob Loomis at Random House had enlisted Gerald Posner to write a book reinforcing the Warren Commission. This turned into the bestselling Case Closed. This book was attended by a publicity build up that was probably unprecedented for the time. The book was featured on the cover of US News and World Report, and Posner got a featured spot on an ABC TV newsmagazine. (Posner has since been exposed as a pathological plagiarist, and also part of a scheme to defraud Harper Lee of her royalties. But as we shall see, McAdams still admires his discredited book.)

In the summer of 1994, there was a meeting in Washington between CIA officer Ted Shackley, former CIA Director, the late Bill Colby, CIA affiliated journalist Joe Goulden, writer Gus Russo, and Dr. Robert Artwohl. (Probe Vol. 6 No. 2, p. 30) One of the subjects under discussion was the upcoming fall conference in Washington of the newly formed Coalition on Political Assassinations, or COPA. At the time, the Assassination Records Review Board was being formed and some interesting things had already begun flowing out of the National Archives. When word about this meeting got out, Russo tried to pass it off as a research meeting for his book Live By the Sword. This did not remotely explain what Goulden and Artwohl were doing there. When author John Newman called Colby, he said the CIA was worried about what the research community was going to say about David Phillips and Mexico City. Since they thought Phillips had gotten a bum rap from the HSCA. (ibid) It was later revealed that one of the topics of the meeting was if they should use one of their friendly media assets to attack COPA. (ibid)

It looks like they did. But the conduit for the attack was not Gus Russo. Russo was already unwelcome in the critical community because of his work on the wildly skewed 1993 Frontline documentary about Oswald. He had actually been attacked in public at a Dallas Conference the previous year by Cyril Wecht and this author. So what apparently happened is that the strategy was to use someone with a lower public profile. And then to lower that even further by having him attend the conference under a false name. We might have never learned about this operation if the perpetrator had used the name of say 'Jack Smith'. But he didn't. He used the name of 'Paul Nolan'. One day, the real Paul Nolan was surfing the Internet when he found out what had happened. He then posted the following message: "I was just doing some research over the 'net. I wanted to see if anything came up that had my name in it. Guess what? My REAL name is Paul Nolan! Apparently, some asshole wants to use my name as an alias."

The "asshole" Nolan was referring to was John McAdams. McAdams attended a COPA Conference in Washington under Nolan's name. He just happened to meet up with a reporter named Matt Labash. Labash wrote a rather long article for Washington's City Paper ridiculing the conference. The only attendee given any long quotes in the piece was McAdams, under the name of Nolan.

Was the fact that McAdams managed to get noticed under a phony name and get interviewed by Labash a coincidence? Not likely. When Gary Aguilar called Labash and asked him about the negative spin of the article, the writer replied that he had his marching orders for the piece. Milicent Cranor did some research on Labash and discovered he had an interesting history. At the time, he was employed by Rupert Murdoch's The Weekly Standard. But he had been formerly employed by the Richard Mellon Scaife funded American Spectator. And one of his previous assignments had been infiltrating the liberal Institute for Policy Studies and doing a lengthy hit piece on them in the Unification Church owned Washington Times. As we will see, the political orbits of the two perpetrators-Labash and McAdams-- have much in common. Some would say, too much. Whatever the auspices, the meeting appears to have achieved the objective that Colby and Shackley had in mind. As did the overall counter attack against Stone's film. The goal was the familiar one of 1.) polarize and 2.) then marginalize.


"That site is the greatest collection of lies and disinformation that has ever appeared in this case."

Robert Harris, referring to McAdams' site

In fact, McAdams begins his web site with, if not a lie, a half-truth. At the very top of the page, he uses a quote from Jackie Kennedy. It reads, "He didn't even have the satisfaction of being killed for civil rights ... It's-it had to be some silly little communist." The associate professor does not footnote this quote. The shocked widow may have said this as an immediate reaction to having her husband's brains blown out in front of her. But this is not what she thought upon a few days of reflection. As David Talbot notes, a few days later, the widow, along with Bobby Kennedy, put together a mission for their mutual friend William Walton. (See Talbot, Brothers, pgs. 29-34) Disguised as a cultural exchange, Walton's real job was to inform Russian official Georgi Bolshakov about what Jackie and Bobby really thought had happened to President Kennedy. They felt he had been removed by a large, rightwing, domestic conspiracy. And Walton told Bolshakov that, "Dallas was the ideal location for such a crime." What this meant was that the new president, would not be able to fulfill the designs JFK had for pursuing detente with Khrushchev. Johnson was far too close to business interests. Therefore, Robert Kennedy would soon resign as Attorney General, He would then run for office, and use that position to run for the White House. At that point, if he won, the quest for detente would continue.

Now, this anecdote was not surfaced by "buffs". It appeared in the book One Hell of a Gamble by the late Aleksadr Fursenko and Tim Naftali. To my knowledge, neither man was ever considered a Kennedy assassination theorist in any way. And neither was Walton. Walton was just doing the bidding of his two close friends. Yet, if one searches the index to McAdams' Kennedy Assassination web site, you will not find any reference to this important piece of history.

So why does McAdams lead off his site with that particular quote? Because it does two things for him. First, it presents the (false) idea that the Kennedy family actually bought into the Warren Commission. Second, it also brings forth the phantasm that, psychologically, people need to believe in a conspiracy because they cannot accept President Kennedy dying at the hands of a deranged communist. Today, of course, everyone, including McAdams, knows that the former idea has been knocked aside by both Talbot's book and the revelation by Robert Kennedy Jr. in an interview with Charlie Rose that his father didn't buy the Warren Commission. (http://www.ctka.net/2013/The_MSM_and_RFKJr.html)

The second idea, about needing a psychological crutch, was actually started by CIA asset Priscilla Johnson, the favorite JFK author of both Richard Helms and David Phillips. She penned a column playing on this theme for the 25th anniversary of Kennedy's death. It's a neat trick. In that it asks the public to avoid the evidence in the case because the only people who criticize the Commission are those who cannot emotionally accept Oswald as the killer. Incidentally, this is what Johnson's book, Marina and Lee does. It avoids the evidence in the case and instead draws a portrait of Oswald that is similar to what the Warren Commission did: Oswald as the twisted commie sociopath.

Its odd that McAdams should criticize the critics as being "buffs" who rely on their own books for mutual reinforcement. First, it simply is not true. People like Jim Douglass used a variety of books and sources outside of the Kennedy assassination literature. For another example, click through to these two articles by Milicent Cranor and see all the references she uses from core and established medical literature. One of them being Di Maio in his real field of expertise. (http://www.history-matters.com/essays/jfkmed/TrajectoryOfaLie/TrajectoryOfaLie.htm)


But alas, if one looks at the sources for John McAdams' site, one can fairly say that this insularity and circularity-let us call it buffery-- is true of McAdams. A man he uses as both a source and an outlet is rabid Warren Commission defender Max Holland. Another source he uses is Dave Reitzes. Another author he employs is a man named Eric Paddon. These contributors all have one thing in common: they all share McAdams' agenda. In other words, they are his kind of "buffs". Paddon is there since he is a history professor who is anti-Kennedy. And therefore McAdams can use him to argue against the idea Oliver Stone used in his film, namely, that Kennedy was going to withdraw from Vietnam in his second term. In his very brief essay on the subject, he does something common on the site. He uses several misrepresentations. For instance, he writes that Kennedy increased the "troop number" in Vietnam. This is a distortion of the record. Since there were no American troops in Vietnam when Kennedy took office, and there were none when he was murdered. Kennedy increased the number of advisors, and as Thurston Clarke shows in his new book on President Kennedy, JFK's Last Hundred Days, he was sure they remained only advisors.

The problem with McAdams and Paddon's ideas on this particular concept, Kennedy's intent to withdraw from Vietnam, is that the newly declassified record proves them thunderously wrong. The ARRB declassified very compelling documents about Kennedy and Vietnam in December of 1997. (Probe, Vol. 5 No. 3, p. 18) Among them were the records of the May 1963 Sec/Def meeting in Hawaii. These prove that Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was implementing Kennedy's orders for a withdrawal. As he had an in-country team from Saigon there to check on the withdrawal's progress. These documents were so forceful that even the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer had to run stories about Kennedy's plan to withdraw from Vietnam. These declassified records, which you will not find on McAdams' site, enabled a series of authors to write fascinating books backing up Stone's thesis, e.g. Gordon Goldstein's Lessons in Disaster and James Blight's Virtual JFK. Quite naturally, Paddon's essay makes no reference to either these documents or these two books. If you can believe it, and you probably can, there is no specific reference in his essay to NSAM 263, Kennedy's direct orders to withdraw a thousand advisors by Christmas 1963 and the rest by 1965. Incredibly, Paddon ends his essay on this subject with a quote from Thomas Reeves' book A Question of Character. That book is one of the worst hatchet jobs on President Kennedy in recent times. To use someone like this shows that this site is not about the factual record. It is about smearing the factual record.

Let us take another example, Jack Ruby. There have been several good authors who have written about Ruby. To name just three: Seth Kantor, Henry Hurt, and Anthony Summers. So whom does McAdams go to in order to enlist someone to write about Ruby? Some scholar in the field? No sir. He uses the Warren Report; and he then goes to his little coterie of buffs and recruits and finds Dave Reitzes for a bit more.

Recall, the Commission concluded that Jack Ruby had no significant link to organized crime. But yet, as many authors have shown, Ruby idolized Lewis McWillie and knew him well. And in fact, Ruby admitted this himself. He even sent him guns while McWillie was in Cuba. McWillie's girlfriend, Elaine Mynier, said the same thing about Ruby. (Jim Marrs, Crossfire, p. 389, 393) This is important because McWillie worked for and with Santo Trafficante while he was in Cuba. (ibid, p. 389) And there is a report by Englishman John Wilson that Jack Ruby visited Trafficante while he was imprisoned by Fidel Castro at a camp on the outskirts of Havana. (Antony Summers, Conspiracy, p. 440) If you can believe it, by now its pr for the course, in the Reitzes essay, you will not see one reference to McWillie-or Trafficante! Now if you do that, how can you possibly title your essay, "Was Lee Harvey Oswald's killer part of a conspiracy?" You have eliminated one major link to a possible conspiracy by censorship.

The Reitzes essay includes the following sentence: "Also, were it Oswald's intention to talk, he'd already had nearly 48 hours in which to do so." Again, if you leave out an important fact, you can write such nonsense. In this case, Reitzes left out Oswald's attempted call to former military intelligence officer John Hurt. That call occurred on Saturday evening, November 23rd. It was aborted by the Secret Service before the clerk could put the call through. The next morning, Oswald was killed by Ruby. (James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition, pgs. 165-66) A major cause of his death was due to Captain Will Fritz. Fritz broke the protection pocket planned in advance by stepping out in front of Oswald, separating himself by about 10-12 feet, and leaving an opening for Ruby to kill the alleged assassin. Anyone can see this by just watching the wide-angle film of the shooting. Apparently, neither Retizes nor McAdams did so.

One of the fruitiest sections of this fruity site is when McAdams and Reitzes try to say that Jim Garrison could not find anyone in New Orleans who could tell them Clay Shaw used the alias of Clay Bertrand. This is a lie achieved by censorship. They use a memo from Lou Ivon to Garrison saying that he could not find anyone to inform them of this fact. What they leave out is something Garrison related in his book. Namely that once Garrison stopped going on these excursions with his men, they started to get results. The reason they did not at first was because many people in the French Quarter resented Garrison because of his previous French Quarter crackdown on the B girl drinking rackets, (DiEugenio, p. 210) This was attested to by two witnesses in the Quarter who told writer Joan Mellen they knew Shaw was Bertrand but would not tell Garrison's men that. When it was all over, Garrison had discovered about a dozen witnesses who certified that Shaw was Bertrand. (ibid, pgs. 210-11, 387) But it wasn't just Garrison who knew this in 1967. The FBI knew it at about the same time Garrison was about to discover it. In a memo of February 24, 1967, the Bureau "received information from two sources that Clay Shaw reportedly is identical with an individual by the name of Clay Bertrand." (ibid, p. 388) In another FBI report of the same time period, reporter Lawrence Schiller told the Bureau that he knew three homosexual sources in New Orleans and two in San Francisco who indicated that Shaw was known by other names, including that of Clay Bertrand. (ibid)

I should add, this was an open secret in the spring of 1967. Even Ed Guthman, an editor of the Los Angeles Times knew about it. And he told former Warren Commission lawyer Wesley Liebeler that Shaw was Bertrand. (DiEugenio, p. 269) You will find none of this declassified information on the professor's site.

In McAdams's section on the motorcade route, he says there was no route change and that anyone who says there was is upholding a-drum roll please-factoid! He then selectively chooses from the record to try and show there was only one misplaced newspaper announcement of the motorcade going down Main Street. That is without the right onto Houston and left onto Elm Street. Again, yawn, this misleading on his part. On November 16th, reporter Carl Freund wrote on page one of the Dallas Morning News, "The President and Mrs. Kennedy are expected to drive west on Main Street next Friday." On November 20, the route was again described as such. And on the day of Kennedy's arrival, the map that appeared on the front page of the Dallas Morning News depicted a path straight down Main Street, without turns onto Houston and Elm. (McAdams excuse for the last is risible. He writes that the map was not large enough to depict the turns.) Vince Palamara, perhaps the foremost authority on the Secret Service, has also maintained the route was changed. And he quotes agent Gerald Behn as actually saying so to him.

McAdams' discussion of Lee Harvey Oswald is equally misleading and censored. Let us take just one aspect of that review: Oswald's staged defection. McAdams understands how deadly this is to his hoary and mildewed portrait of the Krazy Kid Oswald, an image he upholds from the discredited Commission. Therefore, instead of detailing the suspicious circumstances of the defection, he refers the reader to Peter Wronski's site. Which is a valuable site but it deals with Oswald in Russia. Not the steps leading to his defection. Let us reveal some of those steps and the reader will see why McAdams ignores them.

While in the Marines, Oswald became so well versed in Russian that he took a Russian test in February of 1959. Even though he was a radar operator. After the test, he kept studying the language assiduously. He then met with the relative of a friend of his named Rosaleen Quinn. Quinn was also studying Russian. But she had been tutored in the language for over a year in preparation for a State Department exam. Quinn was surprised that Oswald spoke Russian at least as well as she did. (DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed, Second Edition, p. 131) So the question becomes, was Oswald becoming proficient in Russian for some future military assignment?

The indications are he was, but you will not find them on McAdams' site. For instance, in mid-March of 1959, he applied for a school of higher education called Albert Schweitzer College. (ibid, p. 133) To this day, no one knows how he found out about this obscure college in Switzerland. The place was so hidden, that even the FBI couldn't find it. But on his passport application, Oswald listed this place as one of his destinations.

That application was filled out right after he attained a hardship discharge from the Marines. But he had applied for his passport seven days before he was actually released. The alleged hardship was that his mother had a candy box drop on her nose while working at a candy store. When Marguerite went to see a doctor about this incident, he told her that her son was going to defect to Russia. This was in January of 1959. (Ibid, p. 136) Which was six months before Oswald he even begun the process of the discharge.

It was common knowledge that hardship discharges were quite difficult to attain. Since they entailed lengthy investigations to be sure they were executed honestly. The usual completion time was anywhere from three to six months. Incredibly, Oswald's was approved in ten days, on August 27, 1959. (ibid, p. 136) Even though it was a patent fraud! For Oswald did not help his mother when he was discharged. Oswald left his mother in Fort Worth 72 hours after he arrived. He then went to New Orleans, said he was in the import-export business-which he was not-and booked transport on a freighter to England. In England he told the authorities he was there to attend college in Switzerland. Which he was not. But this is where Albert Schweitzer College came in handy. Because he wasn't going to tell them he was defecting to Russia.

His arrival in Helsinki is important for two reasons. First, it was the only European capital that granted visas to Russia within a week. Oswald again got expedited service: 48 hours. (Ibid, p. 138) Oswald apparently knew that. Though we don't know how he did. But second, Nelson Delgado, Oswald's Marine colleague, expressed surprise that Oswald could afford to travel across Europe. Delgado thought it would take as much as a thousand dollars to do so. A sum that, by all accounts, Oswald did not have. But making the expense even more puzzling, when Oswald got to Helsinki, he stayed at the Hotel Torni. (ibid, p. 137) Which was roughly the equivalent of the Ritz Carlton. Someone probably alerted him to the odd juxtaposition of a poor Marine staying at a Nelson Rockefeller type hotel. Because he checked out and went to the Klaus Kurki. Which did not improve things much. Since it's more like the Four Seasons. Where did Oswald get the money to stay at these places?

All of the above raise the sharpest questions about who Oswald was and how his defection was stage-managed. Try and find any of it noted it noted on McAdams' Oswald page.

This is too long already, but there is one other thing that should be pointed out about this horrid web site. Like Vincent Bugliosi and Arlen Specter, McAdams knows there are certain things that simply cannot be revealed about the fantastic pristine bullet CE 399. Because if you do, you blow up the chain of possession issue about the exhibit. Therefore, although he elsewhere notes Josiah Thompson's book, Six Seconds in Dallas, he does not mention Thompson's interview with O.P. Wright. Wright was the Parkland Hospital security officer who denied to Thompson that CE 399 was the bullet he turned over to the Secret Service on the day of the assassination. (Thompson, p. 175) And although McAdams notes other work by John Hunt, he fails to reference his two essay at JFK Lancer. These reveal that the FBI lied about agent Elmer Lee Todd's initials being on the bullet. Todd was the agent who got the bullet at the White House and then delivered it to FBI headquarters that night. The Warren Commission states that his initials are on the bullet. John Hunt checked at the National Archives. They are not on the bullet. (DiEugenio, p. 345) But further, the receipt that Todd made out to the Secret Service says he got CE 399 at 8:50 PM. This was the bullet that was recovered from someone's stretcher. Yet, in the FBI records of Robert Frazier, he wrote that he got the "stretcher bullet" at the FBI lab 7: 30 PM. (ibid) So the question then becomes: how could Todd get a bullet to give to Frazier an hour and twenty minutes after Frazier already had it?

The unfortunate reader who visits John McAdams' site cannot ask himself that question. The professor can't put it there since it incinerates his site. As with Oswald's defection, McAdams has selectively culled the information he puts there. He then trumpets that site loudly as undermining the "buffs". Except, like Vince Bugliosi, his argument is gaseous, since he has rigged the site beforehand.

I could easily go to each major page on that site and show exactly how he does this with each category. But the above makes my point. John McAdams is the equivalent of a cheap magic act. He creates illusions for those who do not know where to look to see the trickery. And he then has the chutzpah to frame the argument as his critics being wrong. This is not what college professors are supposed to be about. Its not intellectual freedom. It is intellectual censorship and deception on a grand scale.

(In Part 2 we will examine McAdams' relationship with Wikipedia, his ground rules for debates, his rightwing politics and activism, his upcoming PBS special, and his recruitment help for the CIA.)

Edited by Steven Gaal
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McAdams complained about a professor's position that his students are not allowed to express opposition to gay marriage. So Marquette suspended him.

Although Marquette as a private institution is not bound by the First Amendment, I don't think what McAdams said was that big of a deal.

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I don't know how many of you have taught or tried to lead adults in classroom learning. Personally I'd have to know a lot more about the original incident to have an opinion at all and I suspect McAdams didn't know either. Freedom of speech is one thing but I can tell you for sure that one opinionated and aggressive student can totally destroy an entire class if the insturctor allows things to spin out of control - been there, screwed that up (on both sides). I may be old school but I'd like to have a lot more facts before determining if the instructor was suppressing free speech or just trying to handle a difficult classroom situation.

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Larry Hancock,

The account I read was that Professor stated in class that everyone agreed as to Topic A, so Topic A was not open for discussion. And that after class had ended, Student approached Professor and argued that there was not universal agreement as to Topic A and that therefore Topic A ought to be open to discussion in class. Whereupon Professor informed student that only unreasonable (bigoted) persons could hold a contrary view and thereupon invited Student to leave her class.

The class, I understand, dealt with ethics. Topic A, as I understand, was same-sex marriage.

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Jon, I read the same thing, it still does not give me enough detail including that student's prior activities in class, any exchanges on previous topics etc. The way you have stated it is factual and neat but my experience in the classroom is that things are not necessarily that clear cut. For that matter I'd need to know more about how the class itself was structured and the teaching techniques in use. I'm simply saying I would need more detail to make a judgement myself and until I had it I would not be blogging about it, especially at my own institution....I might lodge a faculty protest or do a variety of other measures for starters if it really concerned me but I wouldn't incite matters without doing some homework and pursuing other options....such as asking the instructor personally how it had all come down.

It may be that the instructor was quite wrong and the student quite right....having been an obnoxious student in my own time however I'm not going to assume that.

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I have to concur with Larry here. I remember a high school philosophy class, where I engaged in a debate on the existence of God. I argued the atheist side, naturally. In any event, one of the arguments for God's existence presented by the other side was that if you didn't believe in God, you would burn in hell. Their clear intention was to make those judging the debate ( the rest of the class) afraid, and unsympathetic to my position. Now, I don't remember exactly how it all played out, but I think the teacher ruled that they couldn't use that argument, as it was not a logical argument, but an emotional argument.

So, to be clear, I see both sides. I see how freedom of thought and expression should be allowed to flourish in a classroom setting. But I also see how certain arguments can be used to intimidate, and actually stifle freedom of expression. I mean, let's get serious. If a student insists that marriage should be reserved for a man and a woman, and that those engaging in same sex marriage are sinners, is anyone the better for it? Does anyone learn from it? I'm not saying that that is the case in this instance, but I can imagine situations in which a teacher would rightfully disallow such talk.

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In my opinion, colleges and universities of all places should be free-speech zones, not controlled-speech places. Again IMO what Marquette has done to McAdams is a travesty.

I think what McAdams has done to a host of people he disagrees with on aaj is a travesty. What is happening here may just be karma...

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Open Letter in Support of Cheryl Abbate

Dean of the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, Marquette University, Dr. Richard C. Holz, richard.holz@marquette.edu

Interim Provost, Marquette University, Dr. Margaret Faut Callahan, margaret.callahan@marquette.edu.

Dear Dean Holz and Provost Callahan:

I write to express my deep concern about the behavior of Professor McAdams and to offer my support to Ms Abbate over the events reported here: http://dailynous.com/…/philosophy-grad-student-target-of-p…/

The one-sided public attack on a graduate student by a professor over classroom behavior is a threat to academic freedom. It does not appear to me, from reading the blog post of Professor McAdams, that he made any attempt to get Abbate’s side of the story. Instead he took up the motivated report of a student and based an attack on Abbate solely on that student’s testimony. http://mu-warrior.blogspot.in/…/marquette-philosophy-instru…

I hope that you will offer your support to Ms Abbate and take steps to ensure that Professor McAdams learns the rudiments of professional behavior in the future.

Yours respectfully,

John Protevi (PhD, Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago 1990)

Chair, Department of French Studies

Phyllis M Taylor Professor of French Studies

Professor of Philosophy

416 Hodges Hall

Louisiana State University

Baton Rouge LA 70803 USA


As the first person who signed this statement said:

Please add my name to this. Even if everything printed were true and the grad student said and did everything attributed to her ( which I do not grant) this response -- public calling out, exposure to public condemnation, political labeling,-- by a faculty member violates every expectation of graduate training and collegiality. It is a betrayal of the trust invested in faculty to mentor and guide students, not to make of them casualties in larger battles whether inside or outside their institutions.

Posted by: Bonnie Honig

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There are two issues here: [1] Did the classroom professor act badly? [2] Did McAdams act badly?

As I understand, the classroom professor introduced a topic in class and then put the topic beyond class discussion. Fair enough. Unless the reason the topic was placed beyond discussion was that a robust discussion of the topic might cause some class members to be offended.

Today in the U.S. courts and lawyers, voters and state legislatures, are arguing over the topic the class professor put beyond discussion. Seems clear to me the classroom students, as citizens and voters, would benefit from a robust, adversarial discussion of the topic that was introduced by the classroom professor.

It's quite possible for a professor to maintain focus in a classroom in which there is robust, adversarial discussion.

McAdams launched a critique of the classroom professor in a blog. The critique, IMO, reflects McAdams's biases. McAdams is a self-described Conservative who relishes bashing Liberals. In this case, McAdams bashed the classroom professor and Marquette University.

McAdams's critique hurls generalities and specific criticisms. One might write it off as the ranting of an advocate. But it is not threatening and remains on the plane of assertion and argumentation.

IMO, McAdams did not transgress some line and become deserving of University sanction. In my view, he did not act badly even though he says things in his critique with which others no doubt disagree strongly.

Strikes me skins are pretty thin at Marquette. Either that, or Marquette is not a place for minority views.

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