Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tenured Professor Fired for Blogging

"Oh, and in response to your last statement, the one that questions my own beliefs...STFU."

Inside Higher Ed

"A controversial professor on Wednesday revealed that Marquette University is trying to revoke his tenure and fire him for statements he made about a graduate instructor, with her name, on his blog.
The university says his behavior was unprofessional and that he misled the public about what happened in a dispute between the graduate instructor and an undergraduate student. The professor, John McAdams, says he is being punished for his free speech. He also maintains that Marquette shouldn't be attacking him, given that he is defending an undergraduate's views against gay marriage that are consistent with Roman Catholic teachings. (Marquette is a Jesuit university.)
In November, McAdams, an associate professor of political science, wrote a blog post accusing a teaching assistant in philosophy of shutting down a classroom conversation on gay marriage based on her own political beliefs. His account was based on a recording secretly made by a disgruntled student who wished that the instructor, Cheryl Abbate, had spent more time in class one day on the topic of gay marriage, which the student opposed. McAdams said Abbate, in not allowing a prolonged conversation about gay marriage, was “using a tactic typical among liberals,” in which opinions they disagree with “are not merely wrong, and are not to be argued against on their merits, but are deemed ‘offensive’ and need to be shut up.”"

I don't buy the "he shouldn't have given the name of the grad student instructor on his blog" charge. She was the sole instructor of an undergraduate section. What's the point of calling someone out on their behavior unless you actually use their name?

The way this went down seems to be this: Ethics professor uses gay marriage as an example in class. A (failing) conservative student meets with her during office hours and he records their conversation. He asks her why she didn't discuss gay marriage more in class. At some point, she seems to equate taking a stance in opposition to the legalization of gay marriage to "homophobia," which will not be tolerated in her classroom.

Was the student a jerk? Seems likely. Was the tenured professor who "outed" the grad student on his blog also a jerk? Yeah.

Do many professors hold views such that, were a student to express a contrary view, would lead the professors to think that the student is racist, sexist, fascist, or homophobic, and therefore wrong? Yes.

Does this have a chilling effect in American universities? Yup.

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