On Thursday, May 4, a Milwaukee County judge issued a 33-page decision dismissing all claims against Marquette University. In May 2016, the associate professor filed a lawsuit challenging the decisions of Marquette’s Faculty Hearing Committee and President Michael R. Lovell that Dr. McAdams deserved discipline for his conduct.
President Lovell responded to the ruling in Marquette’s favor:
“Today’s ruling is a strong affirmation of our Guiding Values and our efforts to stand up for our students,” President Lovell said. “We’ve maintained throughout this process that a personal attack on one of our students is simply unacceptable. We appreciate the court’s thoughtful consideration of the Faculty Hearing Committee’s work and findings. Dr. McAdams’ tenured peers on the Faculty Hearing Committee concluded, unanimously, that he breached his core duties as a Marquette professor when he used his blog needlessly and recklessly to harm a Marquette graduate student. We are grateful that the court upheld Marquette’s actions.”
President Lovell noted that it is especially important to recognize, as the court did, that academic freedom has both rights and responsibilities.
The judge noted the following in his written decision: “Academic freedom allows both faculty members and students to engage in intellectual debate without fear or censorship or retaliation and it establishes a faculty member’s right to remain true to his or her pedagogical philosophy and intellectual commitments. Academic freedom also gives both students and faculty the right to express their views without fear of sanction, unless the manner of expression substantially impairs the rights of others. On the other hand, academic freedom does not mean that a faculty member can harass, threaten, intimidate, ridicule, or impose his or her views on students.”
Consistent with previous communications and in our continued emphasis on transparency, the university is sharing the judge’s public document. Previous background on the case can be found at the following link.