[A] few things to correct. McAdams is an associate professor, not a full professor. And there were two students; one asked the question in class, another one pursued the matter after class with the recording and so on.Thanks for clearing things up, John!
(Don't forget about Zombie's important post about interviews! You can use this as an open thread about the market, too.)
If you've been paying attention to the philosophy blogosphere, then you know that Daily Nous has a post up detailing a "political smear campaign" against a Marquette graduate student, Cheryl Abbate. According to Daily Nous, Abbate made a classroom decision during a discussion of Rawls to head off a discussion about gay marriage that a student attempted to initiate. She had a conversation about this decision with the student outside of class justifying her management of the classroom (that the student recorded and, it appears, lied about recording), and is now being attacked for "censorship" in the classroom by a full professor at her own school.
Please consider signing this open letter by John Protevi in support of Abbate. And read this by Charles Hermes, who encouraged us to write a post on this topic and who nicely details why it's important to support Abbate.
Read the following if you need to get caught up (or any of the links above):
At the center of this campaign, is a Political Science professor, John McAdams, who, it appears, has just emerged from a cryogenic freeze that started in the late nineties/early aughts, gnashing his teeth about the pernicious effects of "political correctness" and using terms like "gay lobby" without a hint of irony (so "trigger warning," if you click on this link).
After (if I'm remembering correctly), encouraging the student to record his conversation with Abbate, McAdams, emboldened by the remembrance of David Horowitz, posted snippets of it on his blog (without hearing Abbate's side of the story). McAdams criticized Abbate for her decisions about classroom management and accused her of being part of the vast left-wing conspiracy to silence all dissenting opinion or to make conservatives feel uncomfortable to voice their opinions.
This is rich, coming from a man whose Rate My Professor listing is littered with references to his conservative, right-wing political beliefs (and suspenders) [sic throughout]:
Okay teacher. His bigoted attitude caused some views to be imperiously ignored. Also, according to him, this class requires a thorough background in Economics, which is not a prerequisite for the course. Conform and go along with what he says, and you'll be fine.
I took Policy with McAdams. FABULOUS suspenders everday. HOWEVER- If you are not a member of the Ron Paul fan club, the college republicans, or you don't write for the Warrior, you will be pissed off at his straight-up economist's approach to public policy. NO social graces.So, why are we not using these testimonials from students to launch a campaign against McAdams' classroom management style? Perhaps we should send these students to record their conservations with McAdams and then "report" those conversations on our blogs expressing our worries about McAdams' inability to keep his political beliefs out of the classroom? No.
We understand that the classroom is a complicated place with dynamics that are unique to each class; hard decisions have to be made by teachers about how to manage classroom time on the basis of the unique dynamics of that class; and second-guessing teachers, especially graduate student teachers (and refraining from second-guessing students), doesn't create a space in which teachers are able to do their jobs well based on the unique dynamics of that class (also within the demands set on those teachers by the policies of their universities).
If anyone is undermining academic freedom and chilling speech, it's John McAdams.