Catholic university suspends professor for defending student who wants to speak up against gay rights

Associate Professor John McAdams speaks to a journalist on his refusal to apologise to Marquette University which suspended him for criticising an intructor on the issue of gay rights.(Screenshot/Fox 6 Now)

A Catholic university in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has suspended an associate professor over a blog post he wrote in 2014 that criticised an instructor for telling a student to drop out of her class after the latter disagreed with her statement that "everybody agrees" on the need for gay rights.

Marquette University President Michael Lovell told Associate Professor John McAdams that after an investigation, "I have decided to accept your fellow faculty members' recommendation to suspend you without pay. Your suspension without pay will begin April 1, 2016, and continue through the Fall 2016 semester."

In his blog post on Nov. 9, 2014, McAdams wrote that instructor Cheryl Abbate discussed gay rights in her class and declared that "everybody agrees on this, and there is no need to discuss it."

However, the student disagreed and told her after class that the issue should be discussed.

But she said, "In this class, homophobic comments, racist comments, will not be tolerated." She then told the student to drop out of her class.

McAdams said Abbate "was just using a tactic typical among liberals now."

"Opinions with which they disagree are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed 'offensive' and need to be shut up," he wrote.

In the announcement, Lovell said a seven-member Faculty Hearing Committee conducted a hearing for four days last September.

It then issued a 123-page report on McAdams' actions. Lovell said "I have decided to formally implement the Faculty Hearing Committee's unanimous recommendation."

In a letter, Lovell told McAdams that he will be allowed to return to the university on Jan. 17 next year. However, he has to deliver a written statement to the President's Office by April 4, 2016 that contains his "acknowledgement and acceptance of the unanimous judgment of the peers who served on the Faculty Hearing Committee."

The university also said his letter should contain his commitment that he should adhere to the standards under the faculty handbook, mission statement and guiding values of the university.

McAdams should also acknowledge that his "blog post was reckless and incompatible with the mission and values of Marquette University and you express deep regret for the harm suffered by our former graduate student and instructor, Ms. Abbate."

Responding to Lovell's statements, McAdams said the university's demands were "reminiscent of the Inquisition, in which victims who 'confessed' they had been consorting with Satan and spreading heresy would be spared execution."

He said the student who argued against gay rights was treated with hostility when he complained while Abatte was not even admonished.

"But Lovell is downright dishonest in implying that he's merely implementing the recommendations of the Faculty Hearing Committee. Their report (which is confidential) mentioned nothing about demanding any apology. It only recommended we be suspended without pay for one or two semesters," McAdams wrote.

McAdams said he will not give in to the demands.

"The addition of a demand that we abase ourself and issue an apology and sign a loyalty oath to vaguely defined 'guiding values' and to the University's 'mission' is obviously a ploy by Marquette to give the administration an excuse to fire us. They have calculated, correctly, that we will do no such thing," he wrote.

He said Marquette University's supposed "Catholic mission" is nothing but a "marketing gimmick."