By Ethan Hollenberger

Just over a year ago, I wrote in the New Guard that Marquette University conservatives were having their day in court. The Wisconsin Circuit Court was hearing a case regarding conservative Professor John McAdams’ firing (McAdams was represented by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a Wisconsin based conservative law firm and think tank).

The advisor to multiple conservative clubs (including Marquette’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter) and academic advisor to countless conservative students was fired for expressing conservative views on his blog.

This week, the Wisconsin Supreme Court vindicated McAdams and slammed the Left’s attempts to ban speech with which it disagrees. The Court told Marquette to fully reinstate the conservative, and a lower court will decide damages.

Academic freedom must be preserved on college campuses.

Full stop.

In her concurring opinion, Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley asked if academic freedom would, “succumb to the dominant academic culture of micro- aggressions, trigger warnings and safe spaces that seeks to silence unpopular speech by deceptively recasting it as violence?”

She continued, “In this battle, only one could prevail, for academic freedom cannot coexist with Orwellian speech police. Academic freedom means nothing if faculty is forced to self-censor in fear of offending the unforeseen and ever-evolving sensitivities of adversaries demanding retribution.”

For years, McAdams was writing about Marquette administrators and professors’ liberal bias and Marquette’s fleeting Catholic values.

For even longer, YAF has been winning the battle described by the Justice Bradley.

The current Marquette administration, led by lay-President Mike Lovell and non-Catholic Provost Dan Meyers, has been openly hostile to conservatives:

Last year, the duo orchestrated a lecture by communist and domestic terrorist Angela Davis.

Provost Meyers attacked Ben Shapiro—who’d been invited to speak by conservative students—in an op-ed published in the campus newspaper.

And this week, McAdams’ shared on his blog the story of a latino student who’d been expelled by President Lovell, another apparent example of Lovell’s attacks on free expression.

In the weeks leading up to oral arguments in McAdams’ case, it became clear Marquette felt they would lose this case. Marquette bought Google Ads and full page newspaper ads to bolster their position, and even used their influence with the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce in their attempts to squash McAdams.

Marquette’s President has spent his tenure fighting conservatives and treating them as second-class members of the community. And even while attacking McAdams and taking every effort to rid his school of the conservative professor, President Lovell requested a written apology from McAdams.

Throughout the case it’s been clear that Lovell ought to be the one apologizing. He has created an campus environment where conservatives are not welcome.


Ethan Hollenberger was a Marquette campus activist where McAdams served as his club’s mentor. He continued working in the Conservative Movement, most recently serving as the Communications Director for Wisconsin State Senator Duey Stroebel and an advisor for Young Americans Freedom chapters in Wisconsin.

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