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Prof banned for criticizing assistant for not discussing gay marriage in ethics class

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin -- John McAdams, a Marquette University associate professor, says he is being "treated like a potential terrorist" after being suspended with pay and banned from campus while the university investigates his conduct, presumably because he publicly criticized a teaching assistant for not allowing discussion of gay marriage in an ethics class.

A student had objected to the teaching assistant's handling of the class discussion weeks ago and, after class, recorded his conversation with her. The teaching assistant told the student that "some opinions are not appropriate, such as racist opinions, sexist opinions." She suggested if someone in the class were homosexual, they could be offended if another student challenged gay marriage.

The student who disagreed told her it was his right as an American citizen to make arguments against gay marriage, to which teaching assistant Cheryl Abbate replied: "You don't have a right in this class to make homophobic comments."

McAdams, a member of the political science department, learned of the flap and lashed out at Abbate in his blog for not allowing the gay marriage discussion. An online petition in response to McAdams' public chiding of the teaching assistant drew support for her from professors and other teaching assistants around the world.

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