Latest News and Commentary: Princeton

June 20, 2022
By Paige Cromley
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: A month after the University Board of Trustees voted to dismiss classics professor Joshua Katz following an internal report finding he violated University policies, questions around his dismissal still animate discourse both on campus and beyond as alumni, professors, and students in his field react to the controversial decision.

While multiple students and alumni who spoke to The Daily Princetonian expressed relief that a professor who had engaged in a relationship with an undergraduate would no longer be part of the faculty, other University community members have written publicly in disagreement with the University’s decision and in defense of Katz.

June 16, 2022
By Aaron Sibarium
Washington Free Beacon

Excerpt: Princeton University learned in December about plagiarism allegations against one of its star progressive professors, emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show, but it does not appear to have taken action against him in the intervening six months.

The university's treatment of Kruse—a historian known for his searing criticism of conservative media—contrasts sharply with its scorched-earth approach to Joshua Katz, the classics professor who was fired last month after raising hell over the school's racial politics.

June 16, 2022
By Abigail Y. Anthony, Princeton Student
National Review

Excerpt: You may know Princeton University history professor Kevin Kruse from social media, where he shares insightful comments, such as “Is there a contest to see who can be the stupidest member of Congress?” Such posts accumulate thousands of likes from his half-million followers. His Twitter is so far left that it makes Vox look conservative. You might also recognize Kruse from his guest appearances on MSNBC or his contributions to the New York Times 1619 Project. Now, he faces numerous allegations of plagiarism, a charge detailed by Phil Magness in Reason. Kruse’s doctoral dissertation and books include passages (even verbatim clauses) that are strikingly similar to previously published works, without appropriate quotation marks, proper citations, or footnotes. While Princeton University purports to have a robust commitment to free speech, this commitment does not protect plagiarism. 

June 10, 2022
By Professor Robert P. George
Quillette

Excerpt:  My longtime Princeton University colleague Joshua Katz, a distinguished classicist and linguistics scholar, was recently dismissed from his tenured position by Princeton in a case that has received international attention. I was Professor Katz’s official Adviser in Princeton’s disciplinary system through the course of the entire four-year long ordeal that resulted in his dismissal. In that capacity, I came to possess information that is privileged or confidential, and therefore cannot be shared. I will herein discuss only information that is already publicly known. As a matter of full disclosure, I should note that when Professor Katz asked me to serve as his Adviser, which is something I had done for others over the course of my time at Princeton, he and I were mere acquaintances (though I knew him by reputation as an outstanding scholar, and an exceptionally gifted and dedicated teacher). We have since become close friends.

June 7, 2022
By Amy Ciceu
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: On Sept. 11, 2021, Alejandro Zaera-Polo uploaded the first installment of a seven-part video series, titled “A Gonzo Ethnography of Academic Authority.” Over the course of nearly five hours, Zaera-Polo speaks to the camera, navigating viewers through myriad documents, screenshots, and images, all sourced from a 856-page file he authored.

A few minutes into the video, Zaera-Polo, a renowned architect who once served as a professor and dean in the University School of Architecture, reveals a convoluted diagram that he claims includes all the characters at the heart of the story he wants to tell — trustees, administrators, and former colleagues at the School of Architecture. On July 19, 2021, an eight-year saga came to a climax when Zaera-Polo was terminated from the Princeton faculty.

June 7, 2022
By Abigail Rebieh
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: In a First Things column published just days before it was announced that he would be fired from Princeton University, now-former Professor Joshua Katz dismissed Princeton as an institution which has completely surrendered its open academic discourse. Katz declared that Princeton — and all “elite schools” — have misguided and limited their students’ educational experience, blaming wokeness and excessive formality between professors and students. There are many fair critiques of Princeton; the student body bring them up frequently. But the allegation that Princeton is intellectually dead is not one of them.

June 6, 2022
By Megan McCardle
The Washington Post

Excerpt: If Princeton classics professor Joshua Katz had kept his mouth shut in 2020, would he still have a job?

In his report last November recommending that Katz be fired, dean Gene A. Jarrett wrote that “the current political climate of the University, whether perceived or real, is not germane to the case, nor does it play a role in my recommendation.” I believe Jarrett believes this. Yet I also think it’s clear that political controversy was the ultimate genesis of the second complaint. So while the administration might not have set out to punish Katz for his speech, that’s nonetheless effectively what it did.

June 5, 2022
By Kari Jenson Gold
The Spectator World

Excerpt: The past two years have been a nightmare — a textbook cancellation. Twitter went wild. Colleagues and long-time “friends” publicly denounced him. Mere days after [his] Quillette piece appeared, the Daily Princetonian launched an unprecedented seven-month McCarthyite investigation into every conceivable aspect of Joshua’s life. No ancient rumor or bit of gossip was too small for these gleeful little Robespierres-in-training. Every act of kindness, twisted and distorted by anonymous accusers into something salacious and false.

Did he provide counsel and care to dozens of students suffering from anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts? Guilty! Did he invite dozens of thesis advisees — male and female alike — to dinner and pay? Guilty! Did he devote hour after hour to writing student recommendations, recommendations which were so highly coveted because of their legendary success rate? Guilty! Did he challenge, inspire and support literally thousands of Princeton students over the years? Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

 

May 31, 2022
By Matthew Wilson
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: In a recent column, Rohit Narayanan ’24 sharply criticized attempts by national media outlets to draw a connection between Princeton’s recent decision to fire classics professor Joshua Katz and controversial political statements made by Katz at the height of 2020’s racial unrest. According to Narayanan, the notion that the University’s reopened investigation into Katz’s past illicit relationship with a student was tainted by political bias is nothing more than a “conspiracy” that “completely misrepresents the truth of the matter.”

When Narayanan attempts to play down the strength of student activists at Princeton and dismisses still-simmering controversy over Katz’s views as long “forgotten” by students to argue that Katz’s firing was not politically motivated, he fundamentally misunderstands what is being alleged.

May 31, 2022
By Adam Goldstein
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Excerpt: As universities go, Princeton and the University of Central Florida may not have much in common, but they do share a mechanism for getting rid of inconvenient professors: finding a reason to investigate and fire them over something unrelated, after they’ve said something controversial. So far, it’s working better for Princeton than for UCF.