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John Charles McAdams (born October 26, 1945)[1] is an American associate professor of political science at Marquette University.[2][3] McAdams teaches courses on American politics and public policy, voter behavior, and the John F. Kennedy assassination; he runs a website on the assassination and has published a book on the subject, JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy (2011).[4] He describes himself as "a debunker by temperament".[5] McAdams was suspended by Marquette in 2014 for publicly criticizing a graduate student. McAdams filed suit for breach of contract and in 2018 the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered the university to reinstate him.[6]



McAdams attended Kennedy High School in Kennedy, Alabama.[7] He gained an undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama and a masters from Teachers College, Columbia University.[5] He earned his PhD from Harvard University in 1981.[4]


McAdams teaches courses on American politics and public policy and the John F. Kennedy assassination and has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Sociological Quarterly, and Law and Contemporary Problems.[4]

McAdams maintains The Kennedy Assassination Home Page, a web page of articles, resources, and links devoted to debunking various conspiracies regarding the assassination. The site has been called "impressively comprehensive",[8] "the best gateway to serious and reliable materials"[9] and "the best collection of Kennedy assassination-related information."[10] He is also the moderator of the Usenet group alt.assassination.jfk. He is the author of the book JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy (2011).[11]

On December 12, 2014, McAdams was placed on indefinite academic leave from Marquette University and was suspended from all teaching and faculty duties, banned from campus but retaining pay and benefits. This indefinite suspension came about after McAdams publicly called out a graduate student and instructor by name, in a post on his private blog. He said the instructor had refused to allow a student in an ethics class to talk about gay marriage in class.[12] A letter from Marquette University indicated that the firing was the result of his thrice violating student privacy and deliberately publishing students' names and information to target them for harassment, and because he had done so in the third instance, despite previously acknowledging that posting student names was a matter of concern.[13][14]

On March 24, 2016, Marquette released an announcement detailing the decision of University President Michael Lovell, formally implementing the unanimous recommendation contained in a 123-page report composed by the Faculty Hearing Committee after a 4-day investigation. McAdams' suspension was extended until January 2017 without pay but with benefits, and any return was conditioned on his writing a full letter of apology by April 4, 2016. McAdams told local news media that the requirement to write an apology was "a deal killer. No, I`m not going to do that." [15][16][17] The announcement triggered a barrage of hateful and threatening messages and emails directed at the graduate student and at Marquette University officials.[18][19] The graduate student later transferred to another university, saying she feared for her safety.[20]

On April 4, 2016, McAdams issued a 4-page letter[21] to President Lovell, formally rejecting his demands, and calling them "compelled speech."

McAdams has filed a lawsuit against Marquette, alleging that the suspension and pending dismissal amount to a breach of contract.[22] In response the university released the 123-page Faculty Hearing Committee report, which alleges a pattern of bullying and reckless behavior by McAdams, including at least three previous attempts to intimidate fellow faculty members by threatening to publish their names to his blog.[20][23]

In July 2018, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ordered the university to reinstate him.[6][24]


McAdams has been described as a "vocal conservative"[25] and is a proponent of capital punishment.[26] In 2006, he testified before the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights Subcommittee of the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary as an expert on capital punishment.[27]

McAdams runs the blog Marquette Warrior which was linked, along with several other blogs, to a pro-Walmart PR effort.[28]



  1. ^ Library of Congress. "McAdams, John, 1945-". Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
  2. ^ "Marquette says John McAdams' suspension to continue until he apologizes -". 2017-01-15. Retrieved 2017-02-13.
  3. ^ Dickey, Jack (November 5, 2013). "The Debunker Among the Buffs". Time. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "John C. McAdams | Department of Political Science | Marquette University". Retrieved October 16, 2012.
  5. ^ a b John C. McAdams, JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy, Potomac Books, 2011. p307
  6. ^ a b "Wisconsin Supreme Court sides with Marquette professor John McAdams in free speech case, orders university to reinstate him". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. July 6, 2018.
  7. ^ Parks, Dan (December 31, 1993). "Students view 'JFK' in lesson on evidence; New MU class examines data". Milwaukee Sentinel. Milwaukee. p. 6A. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  8. ^ Web of Conspiracy: A Guide to Conspiracy Theory Sites on the Internet By James F. Broderick, Darren W. Miller, Information Today, Inc., 2008
  9. ^ The history highway 3.0: a guide to internet resources By Dennis A. Trinkle, Scott A. Merriman, M.E. Sharpe, 2002
  10. ^ Great American Websites: an online discovery of a hidden America By Edward J. Renehan, Osborne McGraw-Hill, 1997
  11. ^ McAdams, John (2011). JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy. Washington, D.C.: Potomac Books, Inc. ISBN 1-59797-489-7. Retrieved March 6, 2012.
  12. ^ "MU prof banned for criticizing TA on gay marriage discussion". Retrieved 2016-04-13.
  13. ^ Katie Delong (February 4, 2015). "In letter to tenured professor John McAdams, Marquette officials say they've begun the process of firing him".
  14. ^ Richard C. Holz (January 30, 2015). "Letter to John McAdams".
  15. ^ "Political science professor John McAdams suspended by Marquette University". 24 March 2016.
  16. ^ Dawson, Andrew (24 March 2016). "McAdams suspended through fall 2016 semester". Marquette Wire.
  17. ^ Lovell, Michael R. "Message from President Michael R. Lovell to the Marquette community – March 24, 2016". Marquette University.
  18. ^ Delong, Katie (31 March 2016). "MU pres. issues "call for decency," says former grad student subject to hate over professor's suspension". fox6
  19. ^ Lovell, Michael. "A call for decency: A message from Marquette University President Michael Lovell". Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  20. ^ a b Herzog, Karen. "MU report suggests pattern of bullying by suspended McAdams". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  21. ^ McAdams, John (April 4, 2016). "Letter to President Lovell" (PDF).
  22. ^ Zervakis, Pete (2 May 2016). "Marquette professor John McAdams suing university over suspension". WTMJ. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  23. ^ "In the Matter of the Contested Dismissal of Dr. John C. McAdams" (PDF). Faculty Hearing Committee Report. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  24. ^ McAdams v. Marquette University, Wisconsin Supreme Court No. 2017AP001240, (July 6, 2018)
  25. ^ Twohey, Megan (March 9, 2006). "Marquette bans feminist play University calls it too distracting; critics say move limits free speech". Milwaukee Sentinel. Milwaukee. p. 1B, 2B. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  26. ^ Wilson, Chris (June 12, 2007). "Mixed Views on the Death Penalty". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
  27. ^ S. Hrg. 109-540 - AN EXAMINATION OF THE DEATH PENALTY IN THE UNITED STATES (PDF). Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. February 1, 2006. p. 14.
  28. ^ Barbaro, Michael (March 7, 2006). "Wal-Mart Enlists Bloggers in P.R. Campaign". The New York Times. New York. Retrieved January 15, 2013.

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