Marquette University, the Jesuit school in Milwaukee, has shot itself in the foot again. Weeks ago in a “Theory of Ethics” class, philosophy instructor Cheryl Abbate listed several possible topics of discussion, but said one of them –gay marriage—could not be addressed because any opposition argument would offend homosexual students, and besides society has already agreed that gays can marry. This is a strong pattern for the campus left: topics they want to talk about (e.g., the Keystone pipeline, abolishing fraternities) are discussed endlessly, even in classes where the topics have little or no relevance. But topics they don’twant discussed are banned as “already settled” or as harassment.
Did Marquette overrule Abbate and say that gay marriage can certainly be discussed in class? Or that Catholic doctrine cannot be off limits at a Catholic university? Well, no. Like so many other universities, Marquette passed on the free speech issue and went after a lone professor—John McAdams–who had criticized Marquette’s woeful reaction to Abbate in his blog, “Marquette Warrior.” The next step was very predictable: Marquette suspended McAdams, said he is under investigation and banned him from the campus, without listing any charges against him. Presumably the unannouced charge is harassment, since the letter from Dean Richard Holz to McAdams ended with a sentence saying “I am enclosing with this letter Marquette’s harassment policy….:” McAdams then wrote: “The fact that Holz sends the ‘harassment policy’ suggests that somebody thinks that merely blogging about questionable conduct by a Philosophy instructor constitutes ’harassment.’” He adds that Marquette “has again shown itself to be timid, overtly bureaucratic and lacking any commitment either to its Catholic mission or free expression.” Yes, it has.