McAdams Files Lawsuit against Marquette

The following is reported in an article by Allison Dikanovic for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

“Marquette University associate professor John McAdams and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed a lawsuit Monday against Marquette over the professor’s suspension stemming from his public criticism of a teaching assistant.

“According to a news release, the lawsuit against Marquette is for “illegally suspending” McAdams and “making the decision to terminate his tenure and fire him from Marquette.”

“The lawsuit, filed in Milwaukee County Circuit Court, accuses Marquette of breach of contract.

“’We welcome this issue being addressed in court, where the public will hear a comprehensive account of Dr. McAdams’ mistreatment of our former graduate student, rather than the select details he has handpicked to promote his false narrative,’ Marquette said in a statement. ‘Once all the facts are made clear, Marquette fully expects that the decision to suspend him will be upheld.’”


After recounting the incidents that led to McAdams suspension, Dikanovic adds the following details and links on the university’s reviews of the issues:

“This spring, Marquette President Michael Lovell announced that he would implement the unanimous recommendation of a faculty committee that reviewed McAdams’ case to suspend the associate professor through fall 2016—with the condition that McAdams also admit that his conduct was wrong.

“In their statement on Monday, the university officials released Lovell’s decision letter, the full 123-page Faculty Hearing Committee report and President Lovell’s follow-up letter to McAdams, ‘to ensure transparency.’ Marquette also included a link to what it referred to as answers to frequently asked questions regarding the McAdams matter.

“Lovell said at the time the decision was ‘guided by Marquette University’s values and is solely based on Professor McAdams’ actions, and not political or ideological views expressed in his blog.’”


Dikanovic closes with an attempt to highlight the broader principles at issue in this case:

“The incident sparked debate over protected speech at the private university, who should be able to express or suppress certain views and whether a professor publicly criticizing a student is inappropriate in a learning environment.

“’For blogging and defending an undergraduate student, Professor McAdams is being suspended,’ said WILL president and general counsel Rick Esenberg in his announcement of the lawsuit. ‘But it is worse than that. He is being told that he will be fired unless, in the manner of a Soviet show trial, he confesses guilt and admits that his conduct was “reckless.”’

“At a news conference Monday, Esenberg said the case is ‘about vindicating and validating an important principle” and “standing up for free, open discourse on campuses.’

“McAdams said at the news conference that the situation ‘has completely disrupted my life’ and that if he didn’t prevail in his case ‘it would set the precedent that tenure doesn’t mean much.’”

“When asked if there was a dollar figure for which he would walk away, he said ‘no.’”


Dikanovic’s complete article is available at:


John McAdams

John McAdams

Michael Lovell

Michael Lovell

Rick Esenberg

Rick Esenberg

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