Support for Cheryl Abbate (updated w/ statement from Marquette Pres.)

Support for Cheryl Abbate (updated w/ statement from Marquette Pres.)


As reported a few days ago, Marquette University philosophy graduate student and instructor Cheryl Abbate has been the subject of defamatory and hostile politically-motivated blog posts by Marquette associate professor John McAdams. The story has predictably spread across the internet, and has now appeared on the Fox News website with a lying headline, typical slant, and a slew of comments you should not read if you ever again want to have the will to get out of bed in the morning (references to the “girl professor’s thought control agenda,” “militant gays,” “Stalin,” and, of course, “Obama” are just the tip of the iceberg). As a result, she has been receiving quite a bit of hate email. Here is one representative piece:

Abbate hate email 1

Fortunately, support for Ms. Abbate is coming from several quarters. People have been writing administrators at Marquette, including the president, Michael Lovell (email him [email protected] or tweet to him at @PresLovell @MarquetteU). I sent in a letter. David Boonin wrote an excellent letter to the dean. John Protevi posted his great letter here. If you wish to, you are welcome to post your letter, in whole or part, in the comments below (though don’t feel any pressure to do so).

Local support is growing, too. The chairs of several departments met about the issue and sent a letter to the Marquette University administration, which is posted here.

I hope that others at Marquette and elsewhere voice their support and that the university, at the very least, takes a public and official stand on the matter.

UPDATE: Marquette President Michael Lovell has issued a “Letter to the Campus Community.” It does not identify the controversy or any of the parties involved, but it does say that the university will not tolerate harassment or personal attacks and that the university will “take action.” An excerpt:

I want to reiterate those points to the entire Marquette community. We are dedicated to uphold academic freedom and to maintain an environment in which the dignity and worth of each member of our community is respected, especially students. We deplore hatred and abuse directed at a member of our community in any format. Please know that we listen to any member of the campus community who expresses concerns alleging inappropriate behavior. As stated in our harassment policy, the university will not tolerate personal attacks or harassment of or by students, faculty and staff. To be clear, we will take action to address those concerns. ​I understand that emotions may run high during discussions and debate, inside and outside of the classroom. But let’s not lose sight of the need to maintain respect for each other.

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