UPDATE: Sat 22 Nov 6pm. President Lovell has released a Letter to the MU community. Although it doesn't name names, it is nonetheless a good sign to see this:
We are dedicated to uphold academic freedom and to maintain an environment in which the dignity and worth of each member of our community is respected, especially students. We deplore hatred and abuse directed at a member of our community in any format. Please know that we listen to any member of the campus community who expresses concerns alleging inappropriate behavior. As stated in our harassment policy, the university will not tolerate personal attacks or harassment of or by students, faculty and staff. To be clear, we will take action to address those concerns.
Let's thank President Lovell, while adding that we hope clear action is soon forthcoming.
Dr Michael Lovell
President, Marquette University
Dear President Lovell,
I write you today with a matter of some urgency. According to the 6th update to this story, http://dailynous.com/2014/11/18/philosophy-grad-student-target-of-political-smear-campaign/#comments, Cheryl Abbate, a philosophy graduate student at Marquette, has begun receiving hate mail as a result of this Fox News story: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/11/21/teacher-to-student-if-dont-support-gay-marriage-drop-my-class/.
The harassment Ms Abbate is receiving in inimical to the values not only of American universities in general, but of the Jesuit tradition in particular (speaking as a Loyola University of Chicago graduate), and I ask you to take immediate action in the form of a public statement deploring this harassment and affirming Marquette’s commitment to the welfare of its graduate students.
As you may be aware, these threats can be traced to the unprofessional behavior of Professor John McAdams of the Political Science department at MU, who, in connivance with a student who provoked a confrontation with Ms Abbate after class, while both surreptitiously taping the conversation and lying about that fact, betrayed a basic commitment to mentorship and guidance of students by blasting Ms Abbate on his blog: http://mu-warrior.blogspot.in/2014/11/marquette-philosophy-instructor-gay.html.
If I may, I would direct your attention to these comments on an Open Letter I authored on the situation, which has garnered over 200 signatures in a few short days: http://proteviblog.typepad.com/protevi/2014/11/open-letter-in-support-of-cheryl-abbate.html
"Please add my name to this. Even if everything printed were true and the grad student said and did everything attributed to her ( which I do not grant) this response -- public calling out, exposure to public condemnation, political labeling,-- by a faculty member violates every expectation of graduate training and collegiality. It is a betrayal of the trust invested in faculty to mentor and guide students, not to make of them casualties in larger battles whether inside or outside their institutions. Bonnie Honig, Professor of Political Science, Brown University."
"I support this letter and am so pleased to see how widespread the response has been. Ms. Abbate deserves no less than any instructor, tenured or otherwise, deserves: due process, a resistance to trying a case in the court of public opinion, respect for her expertise, and the professionalism of her colleagues. The kind of news-baiting in which Professor McAdams has engaged is a disservice to students and faculty alike. I suspect he would not enjoy anyone vilifying him without first attempting to gather the facts in the case. In addition, the student who recorded a conversation without Ms. Abbate's consent, and who denied he was doing so, should be apprised of the law, as well as of general principles of ethics. I am a graduate of a Jesuit institution (Fordham University) and have studied Jesuit history. This developing situation is absolutely not in keeping with rational interpretation of the _Constitutions_ or later interpretations of "Our Way of Proceeding." Kathleen M. Comerford, Department of History, Georgia Southern University”
As for the behavior of Professor McAdams, I hope that members of your administration, such as Dean Holz or Interim Provost Callahan, will find the time to discuss with him what obligations a decent respect for the trust placed in us as faculty members entails with regard to mentoring graduate students, rather than using them callously and carelessly as a pawn in his political fulminating.
John Protevi (PhD, Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago, 1990)
Chair, Department of French Studies
Phyllis M Taylor Professor of French Studies
Professor of Philosophy
416 Hodges Hall
Louisiana State University
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