Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has told Professor John McAdams to stay off campus while he is under investigation by the school. McAdams “crime”? He pointed out on his personal blog that a fellow professor in the middle of an ethics class declared any discussion of gay rights off limits, lest some be offended by the academic presentation of different points of view. That means that Marquette University is imposing a gag order on a professor who pointed out that another professor muzzled academic expression in her class.
Higher education does not mean common sense.
Marquette is Wisconsin’s leading Catholic university. As such, it is a high profile institution among Catholics both in and out of Wisconsin. It also prides itself as one of the most well known centers of higher education in the state. By imposing a gag order on McAdams, the school has done damage to both its Catholic and academic traditions.
Richard Holz, the dean of the University, told McAdams in no-uncertain terms in a letter:
“You are to remain off campus during this time, and should you need to come to campus, you are to contact me in writing beforehand to explain the purpose of your visit, to obtain my consent and to make appropriate arrangements for that visit.”
In publicizing the odd censorship of a fellow professor, McAdams offered no justification or defense of the Catholic Church’s teachings on marriage. He only noted that the exchange between a student and a professor was cut off by the professor who reportedly told the student, “you don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments.”
If arguing that opposite-gender marriage is better than same-sex marriage is “homophobic,” then it stands to reason that this professor finds the teachings of the Catholic Church to be “homophobic.”
Fascinatingly, the professor of the ethics class has not yet taken a leave of absence to look for a job at a university without strong ties to homophobia. It is McAdams, who used his freedom of speech and (perceived but apparently not real) academic freedom to call out a censoring fellow professor, who is on leave and potentially in the market for a new job.