Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cathedral?!?! at a Jesuit University?


theatlantic |  Professor John McAdams is being stripped of tenure by Marquette University for writing a blog post that administrators characterize as inaccurate and irresponsible.

Academics all over the United States ought to denounce the firing of the 69-year-old, a Harvard Ph.D. who taught courses on American politics and public policy. If tenure can be taken away based upon one controversial blog post, what protection does it offer? How many tenured professors will censor themselves from participating in public conversation to avoid a similar fate? Marquette has violated core academic values, regardless of what one thinks of McAdams' commentary or the shabby treatment of the graduate instructor he was criticizing (who deserves sympathy for the horrifying torrent of misogyny others directed at her).

For purposes of discussion, I'll begin with the version of events as described by Marquette University Dean Richard C. Holtz, who notified McAdams of his termination. Even assuming that the factual claims Holtz makes are correct, the move has set several sweeping, alarming precedents for when tenure can be revoked.