The Corner


Why a Prof’s Blog Post Is Protected by Academic Freedom

Officials at Marquette University wanted to fire Professor John McAdams over a blog post he wrote. McAdams had tenure, but that didn’t matter. His post was just too much for politically correct, nominal Catholics to tolerate — he had dared to criticize a younger, female faculty member who told a student that there’d be no discussion of same-sex marriage in her ethics class.

McAdams was banned from campus and suspended until such time as he wrote a groveling apology for his thoughts. But he wouldn’t grovel and sued Marquette for breach of contract.

The Supreme Court of Wisconsin recently ruled in his favor and I discuss the case in today’s Martin Center commentary.

Under the contract between McAdams and the university, faculty members are guaranteed academic freedom and the court held that his blog post was an exercise of that freedom, even though some hypersensitive people were offended.

The majority’s analysis is solid and the whining by the two leftist dissenters is crushingly refuted. Moreover, the two concurring opinions are excellent and worth reading on their own.

McAdams will get his position back and recover damages for the school’s breach of contract.

My conclusion:

Thanks to the Court’s stance, private college officials will have to think twice if they want to rid themselves of faculty members just because they’ve said things that annoy or offend them.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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