An Ivy League professor who was under investigation for sexual misconduct faces firing from Princeton University in what critics call a politically motivated move.
The university’s president last week recommended that the board fire tenured classics professor Dr. Joshua Katz over a relationship he had with a student in 2006, reported the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
Katz was suspended over the relationship following a 2018 investigation that found she violated school policy, and a subsequent investigation by the school newspaper last year led to another investigation that found the professor initially did not fully cooperate and misled investigators, according to the article. .
The second investigation came shortly after Katz criticized faculty proposals to address Princeton’s racist history following the police killing of George Floyd, leading his allies to accuse the university to target him for his outspoken criticism of the school’s liberal staff, according to the report.
Katz wrote an online essay in July 2020 that said an open letter signed by students, staff and alumni that called for a committee to examine racism on campus would lead to free speech crackdowns. , and said he was “embarrassed” for his colleagues who signed him.
Its op-ed also called student Black Justice League a “petty terrorist organization” after it successfully lobbied to have former President Woodrow Wilson’s name removed from the school of public policy.
“If expressing an unpopular opinion is an invitation to transform your personal life into yourself
looking for damaging evidence, how many people will be willing to speak out? “, asked his lawyer Samantha Harris to the newspaper.
Chairman Christopher Eisgruber retorted that Katz’s remarks were “irresponsible and offensive” in his own op-ed a few days later.
Dean of the faculty Gene Jarrett, who signed Eisgruber’s recent letter calling for Katz’s dismissal, previously reportedly denied that politics was a factor in the school’s second investigation of Katz.
“The current political climate at the University, whether perceived or actual, is not relevant to the case, nor does it play a role in my recommendation,” Dr. Jarrett reportedly wrote in the summary. of the investigation.
A faculty committee hired by Eisgruber to review Jarrett’s investigation determined that it was fair and concluded that “dismissal is not an unreasonable recommendation,” according to the article.
Still, the professor’s possible impending dismissal has angered free speech advocates.
“With the dismissal of Professor Katz, Princeton will have sent a message,” said Edward Yingling, co-founder of Princetonians for Free Speech.
“If any faculty member or student says anything that contradicts our orthodoxy, we will get you – if not for what you said, then by twisting your language, using the vast resources of the university to shame you in front of the student body, and investigating your personal life for years.
The board did not respond to the outlet when asked for comment, beyond saying it would be unusual to discuss personnel matters.
New York Post