Marquette University teaching assistant Cheryl Abbate doesn’t like the fact that Professor John McAdams criticized her for not allowing students to discuss gay rights. His article got noticed by Inside Higher Ed, so instead of defending her possibly indefensible actions, Cheryl Abbate cried to the publication:
Abbate, however, said she hoped Marquette would “use this event as an opportunity to create and actively enforce a policy on cyberbullying and harassment.” She added: “It is astounding to me that the university has not created some sort of policy that would prohibit this behavior which undoubtedly leads to a toxic environment for both students and faculty. I would hope that Marquette would do everything in its power to cultivate a climate where Marquette employees, especially students, are not publicly demeaned by tenured faculty.”
That’s right, folks. McAdams discussing Abbate’s classroom actions is bullying. Stop your doctoral studies now, Cheryl. If you, as an adult, can’t take criticism of your teaching methods, you ought not be in academia.
The original incident included a student approaching Abbate after the class (called “Theory of Ethics”) to discuss her decision to not allow discussion of gay rights. At one point, this happened:
Abbate explained that “some opinions are not appropriate, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions” and then went on to ask “do you know if anyone in your class is homosexual?” And further “don’t you think it would be offensive to them” if some student raised his hand and challenged gay marriage? The point being, apparently that any gay classmates should not be subjected to hearing any disagreement with their presumed policy views.
Then things deteriorated further as the student said that it was his right as an American citizen to make arguments against gay marriage. Abbate replied that “you don’t have a right in this class to make homophobic comments.”
The student was then told that if he didn’t like her policy against homophobic, racist, or sexist comments, he should drop the class. Suddenly any discussion of gay marriage that may not support it is automatically labeled as homophobic?
How sad that in a philosophy class, students are not even allowed to discuss their views and opinions. Abbate would rather have Marquette University censor McAdams, than own her own classroom decisions. If the answer to the problem is to yell CYBERBULLYING (rather than respect that McAdams was discussing a legitimate, debatable topic), maybe Abbate should rethink her classroom tactics and/or career choice.