Political science professor John McAdams suspended by Marquette University

MILWAUKEE -- FOX6 News has learned Marquette University political science professor John McAdams is suspended without pay until January 2017. He could get his job back if he submits a letter of apology by April 4th -- but McAdams does not plan to do that. He instead plans to fight the suspension.

"You  can`t say you have academic freedom unless you...violate Marquette`s guiding values," McAdams said.

McAdams has been suspended, banned from stepping foot on campus since December 2014, after he wrote a controversial blog post about a student who felt his instructor blew off a request to discuss his opposition to same-sex marriage.

In the wake of the post, Marquette University had begun the process of firing McAdams.

Marquette University

"Whenever a faculty member engages in behavior that we feel cuts against our behavioral norms and our values as a university, then we need to respond," Dan Myers, Marquette provost said.

On Thursday, March 24th, McAdams learned his suspension will be lengthened until January 2017. He is suspended without pay, and required to write an apology within the next two weeks.

"That`s a deal killer.  No, I`m not going to do that," McAdams said.

John McAdams

In a letter to the Marquette community posted on Thursday, Marquette University President Dr. Michael Lovell said the following:

"Following the faculty statutes, a Faculty Hearing Committee made up of seven of Professor McAdams’ peers conducted a hearing over a period of four days last September. The committee consisted of a diverse set of tenured faculty members from different academic disciplines. After months of deliberations, the committee issued a thorough 123-page report to my office in January regarding Professor McAdams’ actions.  It is noteworthy to mention that the report provided a unanimous recommendation on a path forward regarding the issue under consideration.

"Today, I want you to know that after significant personal deliberation, I have decided to formally implement the Faculty Hearing Committee’s unanimous recommendation. While I cannot provide specific details of the recommendation because it relates to a personnel matter, I can assure you that my decision has been guided by Marquette University’s values and is solely based on Professor McAdams’ actions, and not political or ideological views expressed in his blog.

"In closing, I want to sincerely thank the seven faculty members who served on the Faculty Hearing Committee.  They provided substantial service to the university through their extremely thorough, objective and diligent approach throughout this process."

This story started with a discussion in a philosophy class back in October 2014. An unidentified student felt Graduate Assistant Cheryl Abbate blew off his request to discuss same-sex marriage. After class, he went up to Abbate to talk about it, and he recorded the conversation. In part, he said: "Regardless of why I'm against gay marriage, it's still wrong for the teacher of a class to completely discredit one person's opinion when they may have different opinions." Abbate responded by saying: "There are some opinions that are not appropriate, that are harmful -- such as racist opinions, sexist opinions and quite honestly, do you know if anyone in the class is homosexual?"

The student took the recording to McAdams, who posted it on his conservative-leaning blog.

In December 2014, Marquette University asked McAdams to stay away from campus. All of his second semester classes were cancelled.

In a letter dated January 30, 2015, Marquette officials informed McAdams the university was moving to fire him. In part, the letter reads: "Instead of being a mentor to a graduate student instructor learning her craft, including how to deal with challenging students, you took the opportunity to publicly disparage her."

Marquette University

McAdams believed the issue wasn't what he did, but rather, the belief he expressed.

McAdams has the backing of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty and is now weighing his options.

"They asked me what I wanted to do and I simply gave them a one word answer 'fight,'" McAdams said.

"We have very high expectations for our faculty members and we want our faculty members to live up to those," Myers said.