College campuses are among the least tolerant places in America. Smug, elitist faculty gravitate to the easily mouthed clichés of feminism and other forms of political correctness to give them a false veneer of enlightenment and sophistication, and to separate them from the “guns and religions” crowd they find so abhorrent. This veneer arms them with McCarthyistic bats to attack anyone who doesn’t share their world view.
When someone in that world isn’t afraid to stand up against the purveyors of forced orthodoxy, the fetishists of group identity victimhood, well, as Arthur Miller wrote, “Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person.”
Meet Prof. John McAdams of Marquette University.
Prof. McAdams holds court in a no-holds-barred blog called Marquette Warrior, which is my source for the following. Prof. McAdams’ blog notes beneath its title: “This site has no official connection with Marquette University. Indeed, when University officials find out about it, they will doubtless want it shut down.”
Last December, a student complained to Prof. McAdams’ political science department chairperson that Prof. McAdams had made comments in class about rape that constituted “harassment based on gender” and were “demeaning to rape victims.”
What terrible thing did Prof. McAdams utter? Prof. McAdams had the temerity, as he put it, to “disagree with feminist claims about date rape.”
Lock the doors and hide the children!
Here’s what happened: in Prof. McAdams’ introductory American Politics class, he was discussing media bias, “and how one can recognize media bias when the media accept bogus and inflated numbers as factual.” He used as a contemporary example “one that the students have almost certainly been subjected to as part of their university indoctrination: the idea that 25% of all college women are victims of ‘date rape.'”
That didn’t sit well with a feminist in the class. “The student who complained didn’t think such statistics should be debunked,” said Prof. McAdams, “apparently since campus rape is a serious problem (and therefore inflating the scope of the problem serves a good purpose).”
But “the number is absurdly inflated,” he insisted. He told the class about the infamous Koss report. “Feminists are defining rape far too broadly. Ambiguous sexual encounters, often fueled by alcohol, are defined as ‘rape’ by feminist researchers, but not defined that way by purported victims.” And: “We point out that feminists insist that if a woman consents to sex under the influence of alcohol, she has been raped.”
“This past semester we piled on a bit,” the good professor admits, “by pointing out to our class that ‘this is yet another issue, like abortion, where academic feminists simply don’t think like real women in the real world.’”
The head of Prof. McAdams’ department wouldn’t give McAdams a copy of the complaint lodged against him. Echoing procedures likely last employed in Star Chamber, counsel for the university determined that Prof. McAdams could only read the text of the complaint, but he couldn’t have a copy.
If you are scratching your head, or other parts of your anatomy, over that one, welcome to the rarefied halls of academia.
Prof. McAdams gave the department chair his side of the story. Then, on his blog, Prof. McAdams wrote this — and make sure you are sitting down: “In a properly run university, some administrator would sit this prissy little feminist down and explain to her ‘this is a university, you are going to hear things you disagree with. Live with it.’ But a timid administration, used to genuflecting to all the demands of political correctness, will never do that.” He also made it clear he would not back down: “We will, of course, say exactly the same things about rape when we teach the same class next semester.”
The venerable organization FIRE proceeded to take up the good professor’s cause. It concluded that “by pursuing this investigation, Marquette is letting a single student entangle a professor in disciplinary proceedings simply due to protected classroom expression. How many professors at Marquette are now going to steer clear of sensitive topics just to avoid an Ethics Point investigation?”
In late January, the chair of Prof. McAdams’ department told him that he and the provost had decided not to pursue the claim because Prof. McAdams was within his rights to say what he said.
Great, right? Not so fast.
The head of Prof. McAdams’ department “suggested that perhaps we criticized feminists in an ‘uncivil’ way in class.” What’s the evidence for that? He said that Prof. McAdams “accused feminists of lying” in an office meeting. Prof. McAdams claims he said that feminists lie about the incidence of rape. “That’s a much more limited (and entirely accurate) statement,” he correctly noted.
Marquette refused to put the resolution of the case in writing, and Prof. McAdams fears that the school’s administrators “want to keep open the option of using ‘sexual harassment’ in the future as a pretext to shut up faculty speech that the politically correct crowd does not like. They doubtless find this option very desirable, especially for use against some faculty member less combative than we are.”
The bottom line is that Prof. McAdams isn’t happy. He notes that “it’s often prudent for administrators to pander to politically correct faculty, given that they are very numerous, and very vociferous in wanting to shut up speech they dislike.”
When I read about Prof. McAdams, I thought about someone seemingly unrelated — Earl Weaver, the long-time manager of the Baltimore Orioles who’s now in baseball’s Hall of Fame. Why on earth did I think about Earl Weaver? Mr. Weaver was ejected from over 90 regular season games in his illustrious career because he constantly argued with umpires, often in the most operatic fashion. According to Jim Caple of ESPN.com, Earl Weaver “once told an umpire that he could appear on ‘What’s My Line’ wearing his mask, chest protector and ball/strike indicator and still nobody would guess he was an umpire.”
What good did it do Mr. Weaver’s team? An umpire once revealed that when he and his colleagues worked games with Mr. Weaver managing, they were a little more careful to make correct calls.
My guess is that, from now on, Marquette will be a little more careful when it comes to Prof. McAdams.