Marquette Conservatives’ Day in Court

By Ethan Hollenberger

Today is the day Marquette conservative professor John McAdams has his case heard before a judge. On his blog, McAdams wrote a post he titled “Our Day in Court.” While he is referring to himself, there is no doubt in my mind, today is the day all Marquette conservatives are having their day in court.

I attended Marquette and was a student activist. I led the campus conservative club for two years and was on the team that founded the Young Americans for Freedom chapter. John McAdams was our adviser. He is the guy who backed up YAF’s activism ideas. He is the one who defended us on his blog. McAdams was the adviser, ambassador, and defender for conservatives on campus.

It is now that same blog that is getting him fired.

In the fall of 2014, McAdams heard from an undergraduate student that a philosophy professor would not discuss gay marriage in the classroom. The professor reported the topic was settled. McAdams took to his blog to defend the conservative student and the position held by the Catholic Church (and, consequently, the position held by Marquette University).

McAdams posted legally obtained audio of the professor and named her. Marquette took action against McAdams for harassing a student. The professor was a graduate student teaching a low-level philosophy course.

John McAdams has not taught a class at Marquette since the fall of 2014. This semester is the fifth since students have had the opportunity to learn from a leading expert on the JFK assassination, which McAdams is. And, it has been over two years since conservatives have had a defender on campus.

McAdams’ suspension-turned-termination has not silenced his blog or criticisms of Marquette; nonetheless, to whom can conservative students on campus turn?

In recent months, liberals on campus have been rather aggressive.Last October, feminists hijacked and vandalized a pro-life on the campus’ Central Mall. While Marquette police investigated, no charges or discipline was reported.

In late October, a national pro-family organization organized a protest on Wisconsin Avenue. Within minutes, staff from the LGBTQ Resource Center organized students to hold a banner calling the conservatives homophobes, transphobes, and biphobes. The banner was signed by Marquette Provost Dan Myers. Myers also sent a campus wide email degrading the conservative pro-family group. That means Marquette’s second-in-command felt that writing slurs on a banner was more appropriate than facilitating dialogue.

Now, the Young Americans for Freedom chapter is hosting Ben Shapiro next week. On Monday, it was reported by Young America’s Foundation that a Marquette staff member had on Facebook encouraged non-students to take a seat from interested students. In fact, a fired Marquette staff member (caught by McAdams) was also on the post. Marquette University officials have yet to denounce the staff member. Instead the University says it is a personnel matter handled internally.

I do not buy it. YAF students told administrators four days prior to the story going public about the staff member’s Facebook comments. The comments remained until after the story was posted. Marquette did not defend the conservatives when it was reported to them. Only after the public backlash did Marquette deem it necessary to “handle it internally.”

The sole public defender of conservatism has been kicked off campus. A man I admire. A man who has taught me a breadth of knowledge has been eliminated from campus.

I know John McAdams as a fighter. He decided to sue Marquette with the help of the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.

I have since taken the role of advising the Young Americans for Freedom at Marquette.

It is unfortunate Marquette does not recognize the academic and speech freedoms that make college campuses a forum – at least when it relates to conservatives.

It is unfortunate conservatives must have their day in court to be heard at Marquette.

Ethan Hollenberger was a Marquette campus activist. He continued working in conservative politics now serving as the Communications Director for Wisconsin State Senator Duey Stroebel, the adviser for Young Americans Freedom chapters in Wisconsin, and was recently appointed to the Young America’s Foundation Alumni Board.