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Today's Wall St Journal Editorial on John McAdams' Case


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Those who follow the attempt of Marquette University to fire John McAdams because of a blog post he made may be interested in today's Wall Street Journal editorial on his case.

From today’s Wall Street Journal editorial page (A12) - -Friday, May 6, 2016

Speechless on Campus

John McAdams sues to keep his tenured position at Marquette

We told you recently about Marquette University professor John McAdams, who writes an independent blog called the Marquette Warrior. In 2014 a Marquette student told Mr. McAdams about an exchange in which his philosophy instructor, a graduate student named Cheryl Abbate, told him his [McAdams’] views about gay marriage were homophobic and not open for discussion in her classroom.

Mr. McAdams blogged the exchange and Ms. Abbate got nasty letters, a result that prompted the school to suspend Mr. McAdams, bar him from setting foot on campus and threaten him with termination unless he admitted by April 14 (2016) that his actions were “reckless.” In a letter to Marquette President Michael Lovell, Mr. McAdams declined to do so.*

*In fact, McAdams referred to it as “compelled speech” and refused to abide. -DSL

The University did not rescind its position and Mr. McAdams Monday filed suit in Milwaukee County Circuit Court on grounds that the school has abrogated academic freedoms it guarantees. As a private university, Marquette is not subject to the First Amendment, but the school guarantees academic freedom by contract.

According to the school’s faculty statutes, “dismissal shall not be used to restrain faculty members in their exercise of academic freedom or other rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.” The school says it is acting because Mr. McAdams should have known that his blog would generate criticism of Ms. Abbate, but by that standard freedom of speech is limited by what we can predict others in the online free-for-all will say about what we write.

Universities are meant to be bastions of vigorous debate. When a tenured professor can lose his job because of what strangers on the Internet said, what speech is safe?

DSL

Los Angeles, California

5/6/16 - 8:15 p.m. PDT

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LOL

Doesn't Rupert Murdoch own the WSJ?

Academic freedom does not give you the right to endanger someone's physical and mental health by distorting a student/teacher incident, for whom McAdams was the student's advisor. Thereby playing the role of the provocateur.

The girl had to flee to a different university when she got threats of physical violence in her mailbox. The university then had to provide her security.

And now he wants to be paid for trashing the girl and his university?

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That editorial is a disgrace. It ignores most every key point in order to defend the indefensible.

1. It ignores that the male student was not prohibited from arguing against gay marriage in class because the female student teacher disliked his views, but because it was off-topic, and possibly disruptive to the class.

2. It ignores that the male student was preparing to drop the class anyhow, because he had fallen behind in his work.

3. It ignores that McAdams had found out about the incident involving the male student and the female student teacher through his role as an employee of the University, specifically, through his role as the male student's academic advisor.

4. It ignores that McAdams knew he was supposed to report any problems regarding the female student teacher's performance to her superiors in her department, but that he chose not to do so because he thought they would fail to punish the female student teacher.

5. It ignores that McAdams had used his blog to harass female students in the past, and had been warned not to do so ever again.

6. It ignores that he not only trashed the student teacher on his blog, but misrepresented her actions to do so, and linked to her personal webpage, so that his readers could insult her and abuse her.

In short, McAdam's did not lose his tenure over free speech. He lost it over his deliberately engaging in reckless behavior that could have cost the University untold millions in a lawsuit, should Ms. Abbate had been injured by one of McAdams' followers. McAdams had, after all, used his position with the university to gain information regarding the actions of a female student, and then used this information to publicly humiliate the student, and endanger her well-being. It was the rough equivalent of looking through her files and finding she'd had an abortion, and then posting this on a right-to-life Facebook page in which protests against abortion clinics are planned. His actions were both improper and immoral, and the university acted appropriately.

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Can you all imagine the horror running though the McAdams cheerleader camp that their worst nightmare (a CT 'kook' just might take the Oval Office in the next election)? Roger Stone describes his friend as a 'brawler'. That should send a message to some that their online sandbox frolics days are nearing an end (smiles).

Just a thought...

I'm with Pat & James regarding Mr. McAdams. Shameful....just totally shameful behavior coming from a college professor that should know better.

Brad Milch

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McAdams is fundamentally a bully, plain and simple. He disguises it well under academic pretense but ultimately it always surfaces.... It's a shame its not being viewed in terms of what he really

is and does but that sort of denial is a pervasive thing these days. His behavior is shameful, not calling it what it is even more so.

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I agree totally, Larry. Lady Karma is no one to mess with lightly. She has a way of unexpectedly balancing out wrongs & injustices.

It just may turn out that Mr. McAdams may go down in history as the only college Professor guilty of assassinating himself.

Best always, distinguished Sir,

Brad Milch

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When are people going to learn that writing on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter can only get you in trouble? (Unless your name is Donald Trump, in which case you can tweet and retweet whatever you please.) The so-called social media has become a blight on society. Kids in school are not even taught how to write their own names in longhand anymore. And I'm still waiting to get hit on the road by some damn texting driver.

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The thing is McAdams then got on Fox and tried to say that he only wrote about the incident once on his blog.

That was false.

He wrote about it several times, and he then went on talk radio also.

He then dug into Abbate's academic writings and tried to smear her even more with those.

In other words he was displaying the red meat for any prospective followers of his blog or talk radio. Considering the make up of that population, what did he expect to happen?

To put it simply, he made the young graduate student assistant a target. Can you imagine the lawsuit she would have had against Marquette if she had been attacked? I mean in one way, what she did was very beneficial to Marquette. Since she voluntarily left under threats and harassment. But if she had been physically attacked, Marquette would have faced a giant lawsuit. For the simple reason that McAdams had been doing this kind of stuff for years on end. And there had been previous complaints about his targeting certain aspects of campus life, especially females. Abbate's lawyer could have pointed to these instances and used them to show knowledge in advance of inappropriate behavior, and therefore negligence. It would have been similar in that aspect to the Paterno/Sandusky lawsuits. Which I think was settled for something like 60 million, or more.

Edited by James DiEugenio
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From the termination letter:


Your Prior Similar Reckless and Irresponsible Acts, Together With Your Taking Pride from the Impacts of Your Current Conduct, Preclude the Lesser Sanctions of Reprimand or Suspension."


I've never met this guy personally, but time and again when I've read his writings on the assassination, he pretty much copies and pastes from the Warren Report, then will add some smug joiner at the beginning or end of it to try to belittle a CT-er. That word in the quote ("Pride") stands out for me because I can visualize him, after typing his comment, propping his feet up on his desk, hands clasped behind his head, with a smug smirk on his face.
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The thing is McAdams then got on Fox and tried to say that he only wrote about the incident once on his blog.

That was false.

He wrote about it several times, and he then went on talk radio also.

He then dug into Abbate's academic writings and tried to smear her even more with those.

In other words he was displaying the red meat for any prospective followers of his blog or talk radio. Considering the make up of that population, what did he expect to happen?

To put it simply, he made the young graduate student assistant a target. Can you imagine the lawsuit she would have had against Marquette if she had been attacked? I mean in one way, what she did was very beneficial to Marquette. Since she voluntarily left under threats and harassment. But if she had been physically attacked, Marquette would have faced a giant lawsuit. For the simple reason that McAdams had been doing this kind of stuff for years on end. And there had been previous complaints about his targeting certain aspects of campus life, especially females. Abbate's lawyer could have pointed to these instances and used them to show knowledge in advance of inappropriate behavior, and therefore negligence. It would have been similar in that aspect to the Paterno/Sandusky lawsuits. Which I think was settled for something like 60 million, or more.

I posted this because I thought it would be of interest to those following this case. Obviously, the courts will have to weigh in on all of these matters.

But I do request that you present some factual backup for some of your assertions:

QUOTE:

The thing is McAdams then got on Fox and tried to say that he only wrote about the incident once on his blog. . . . That was false. . . .He wrote about it several times, and he then went on talk radio also. UNQUOTE

1. What is the basis for your statement that McAdams wrote about it "several times" (i.e. three or more times), when McAdams states that he wrote about it "only once." Could you please provide citations to the other times? (Some months ago, I went to McAdams' blog to see what this was all about; and I recall him writing about it once. Please supply specifics. )

2. Your post also states: "He then dug into Abbate's academic writings and tried to smear her even more with those."

Exactly what are you referring to here--i.e., that he "dug into Abbate's academic writings and tried to smear her even more with those"? Are you referring to something in the field of philosophy that he debated? If so, how does that become the basis for your statement that he "tried to smear her even more with those"? Bottom line: some specifics would be appreciated to put this in context, and understand the basis for your statements.

Also, and again this is in the spirit of seeking specifics: is there a transcript available of what McAdams said on talk radio that could shed further light on all this? If so, please post it, or a link.

Thanks.

DSL

Edited by David Lifton
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That editorial is a disgrace. It ignores most every key point in order to defend the indefensible.

1. It ignores that the male student was not prohibited from arguing against gay marriage in class because the female student teacher disliked his views, but because it was off-topic, and possibly disruptive to the class.

2. It ignores that the male student was preparing to drop the class anyhow, because he had fallen behind in his work.

3. It ignores that McAdams had found out about the incident involving the male student and the female student teacher through his role as an employee of the University, specifically, through his role as the male student's academic advisor.

4. It ignores that McAdams knew he was supposed to report any problems regarding the female student teacher's performance to her superiors in her department, but that he chose not to do so because he thought they would fail to punish the female student teacher.

5. It ignores that McAdams had used his blog to harass female students in the past, and had been warned not to do so ever again.

6. It ignores that he not only trashed the student teacher on his blog, but misrepresented her actions to do so, and linked to her personal webpage, so that his readers could insult her and abuse her.

In short, McAdam's did not lose his tenure over free speech. He lost it over his deliberately engaging in reckless behavior that could have cost the University untold millions in a lawsuit, should Ms. Abbate had been injured by one of McAdams' followers. McAdams had, after all, used his position with the university to gain information regarding the actions of a female student, and then used this information to publicly humiliate the student, and endanger her well-being. It was the rough equivalent of looking through her files and finding she'd had an abortion, and then posting this on a right-to-life Facebook page in which protests against abortion clinics are planned. His actions were both improper and immoral, and the university acted appropriately.

Thanks for weighing in. But, as is often the case with your posts, you are missing the main point ---in this case, the main point of the Wall Street Journal editorial, which you criticize by bringing up a host of irrelevancies (to which, apparently in the interest of pedagogy, you assign numbers).

But Pat Speer: here's the bottom line: If Smith writes something negative about Jones, and some unhinged supporters of Smith's view then come out of the woodwork and threaten Jones' welfare, or even Jones' life, is that the responsibility of Smith? Should he be seen as a provocateur in a murder plot? Or someone expressing his views in the realm of free speech?

This issue is about free speech, and defining the "legal landscape" in that area of life. The lawyer defending McAdams sees that very clearly, and his letters are really quite impressive. This case is not about whether McAdams is a nice guy, by this or that person's standard; or whether he "should have known better" etc.

Instead of providing us with a catalogue of irrelevancies, I suggest you go back and read your Voltaire.

FWIW: I too regret that an assortment of Internet creeps came out of the woodwork, and threatened Cheryl Abatto's well being. And that's apparently what happened. But there's another principle here, that's what the courts are going to have to address, and that was the focus of the Wall Street Journal editorial.

So again, instead of making numbered lists, go read Voltaire.

DSL

5/7/16 - 3 p.m. PDT

Los Angeles, California

Edited by David Lifton
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That editorial is a disgrace. It ignores most every key point in order to defend the indefensible.

1. It ignores that the male student was not prohibited from arguing against gay marriage in class because the female student teacher disliked his views, but because it was off-topic, and possibly disruptive to the class.

2. It ignores that the male student was preparing to drop the class anyhow, because he had fallen behind in his work.

3. It ignores that McAdams had found out about the incident involving the male student and the female student teacher through his role as an employee of the University, specifically, through his role as the male student's academic advisor.

4. It ignores that McAdams knew he was supposed to report any problems regarding the female student teacher's performance to her superiors in her department, but that he chose not to do so because he thought they would fail to punish the female student teacher.

5. It ignores that McAdams had used his blog to harass female students in the past, and had been warned not to do so ever again.

6. It ignores that he not only trashed the student teacher on his blog, but misrepresented her actions to do so, and linked to her personal webpage, so that his readers could insult her and abuse her.

In short, McAdam's did not lose his tenure over free speech. He lost it over his deliberately engaging in reckless behavior that could have cost the University untold millions in a lawsuit, should Ms. Abbate had been injured by one of McAdams' followers. McAdams had, after all, used his position with the university to gain information regarding the actions of a female student, and then used this information to publicly humiliate the student, and endanger her well-being. It was the rough equivalent of looking through her files and finding she'd had an abortion, and then posting this on a right-to-life Facebook page in which protests against abortion clinics are planned. His actions were both improper and immoral, and the university acted appropriately.

Thanks for weighing in. But, as is often the case with your posts, you are missing the main point ---in this case, the main point of the Wall Street Journal editorial, which you criticize by bringing up a host of irrelevancies (to which, apparently in the interest of pedagogy, you assign numbers).

But Pat Speer: here's the bottom line: If Smith writes something negative about Jones, and some unhinged supporters of Smith's view then come out of the woodwork and threaten Jones' welfare, or even Jones' life, is that the responsibility of Smith? Should he be seen as a provocateur in a murder plot? Or someone expressing his views in the realm of free speech?

This issue is about free speech, and defining the "legal landscape" in that area of life. The lawyer defending McAdams sees that very clearly, and his letters are really quite impressive. This case is not about whether McAdams is a nice guy, by this or that person's standard; or whether he "should have known better" etc.

Instead of providing us with a catalogue of irrelevancies, I suggest you go back and read your Voltaire.

FWIW: I too regret that an assortment of Internet creeps came out of the woodwork, and threatened Cheryl Abatto's well being. And that's apparently what happened. But there's another principle here, that's what the courts are going to have to address, and that was the focus of the Wall Street Journal editorial.

So again, instead of making numbered lists, go read Voltaire.

DSL

5/7/16 - 3 p.m. PDT

Los Angeles, California

Sorry, but talk about condescension! I'm well-read and have a BA in English. Unfortunately I never read Voltaire

and I bet that's the case with most members here. So what is the name of the work you refer to and

how does it relate?

Kathy C

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