Marquette University and “Hard to Hear” Opinions

The Winter Edition of Marquette University’s “Marquette Magazine” includes what appears to be a self-congratulatory piece where open expression on campus is concerned, through its yearlong Marquette Forum series. The column chronicles the university’s fall semester efforts to generate discourse on the topic of racial justice and inequality:

During the fall semester the university seized the moment when issues of racial justice and inequality were central in the national and local consciousnesses to launch a conversation format designed to inspire thinking — together.

Those efforts included hosting a conversation with Sam Pollard about his film Two Trains Runnin’, which was featured at the Milwaukee Film Festival and a panel discussion “Segregation in Milwaukee: A Conversation with Leaders on the Near West Side.”

The sub-headline for the article was:

This is about talking and listening even when opinions may be hard to hear. This is about being a university.

The irony of that sentiment was not lost on suspended MU professor John McAdams. McAdams, you may recall, was suspended for a blog post about an instructor who wouldn’t allow debate over same sex marriage in her philosphy class. In January, McAdams received a letter telling him his suspension would continue until he apologized. Media Trackers asked McAdams for his opinion on the Marquette Magazine piece:

It’s absurdly ironic, since Marquette only wants to hear opinions from the hard left.


There are plenty of voices who would dissent from the uniform leftist slant of these programs.  One thinks of Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell.  On criminal justice issues, there is Heather McDonald.   I could name a dozen more.  But nobody who at all dissents from the notion of blacks as entirely innocent victims of white oppression is allowed to speak.


The notion that any of these issues should be debated seems never to have crossed the minds of the Marquette bureaucrats.  There is only one “social justice” position, and every person of good will agrees on it, and only evil people refuse to sign on.


This is radically at odds with what discourse at any university should be, but it’s all too typical of academia today.  There is no “engagement” with diverse ideas, but only one-sided indoctrination.


The only saving grace is that few people who don’t already think this way will attend. That is unless their instructors bribe students with extra credit or require attendance.


It is not “hard to hear” opinions you agree with.  Marquette is happy to serve up ideas “hard to hear” for conservatives (typically “hard to hear” because they are absurd) but unwilling to allow anything that the politically correct liberals would find “hard to hear.”

McAdams has taken the matter to the court. Incidentally,  MU’s handling of McAdams has placed it on the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education’s list of Ten Worst Universities for Free Speech. McAdams will be in court Thursday, asking for summary judgment in his lawsuit against Marquette.