Excerpt: Yascha Mounk, an Associate Professor of the Practice of International Affairs at John Hopkins University and Robert P. George, a Professor of Jurisprudence and the Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton, discuss how America can mediate deep moral disagreements among its citizens.
Latest News and Commentary: Princeton
Excerpt: In the mid-2000s, Joshua Katz, a tenured Princeton professor and distinguished classicist, engaged in a consensual affair with a 21-year-old student in violation of university policy. When this matter was brought to the attention of college administrators in late 2017, Katz was disciplined following an internal inquiry and handed a year’s suspension without pay, which he accepted without complaint. But in late 2021, two new investigations into the affair were opened by the university’s Dean of Faculty and by the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX Administration, respectively.
Whatever the truth of a messy affair that appears to have reached a messy conclusion, it is outrageous that Katz was subject to reinvestigation over an affair for which he had already been punished and served his time.
Excerpt: I decided to apply for early admission to Princeton after sitting in on Professor Joshua Katz’s seminar in April of 2012. I’m afraid I don’t remember the content of the seminar, but I do remember the way he captivated the classroom—the way his students hung onto his every word and the way he hung onto theirs.
Last summer, I married him. This week, Princeton fired him.
Excerpt: The years-long controversy surrounding Professor Joshua Katz made national headlines last week as both The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal reported that Katz was to be dismissed due to a university investigation finding he had misled investigators in a previous inquiry into allegations of sexual misconduct.
Shockingly, however, these mainstream outlets give credence to Katz’s narrative of a conspiracy to fire him because of his 2020 criticism of a faculty letter, which argued for controversial anti-racist measures. According to this theory, University President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 surrendered his free speech bona fides and terminated the professor in the face of pressure from, among other groups, woke student mobs.
Regardless of the legal outcome, Professor Katz can also take comfort in Princeton's grotesque myopia. By firing him from a prestigious job he loved for reasons that look absurd and downright shifty, it has simultaneously made him a figure of national importance, with almost every major news outlet covering his story. Once the sting fades, he may well realize that he is now a public intellectual of greater stature and higher moral authority than all other classics professors in America combined. He now has the ultimate freedom to say and do what he wants without reference to a failing academic culture that will soon be dead and buried.
Excerpt: PEN America responded to the decision by Princeton University to fire classics Professor Joshua Katz with the statement below from CEO Suzanne Nossel:
“Princeton University’s decision to fire classics professor Joshua Katz, in the aftermath of Katz’s controversial but protected speech in an op-ed, raises serious questions about free expression and due process on Princeton’s campus. Investigations of Katz by Princeton’s administration and by The Daily Princetonian revealed major policy violations . . ., some of which form the official grounds for Katz’s termination. Crucially, however, many of these allegations were already known to administrators and had already been adjudicated by the university some years ago, with resulting disciplinary action against Katz. If Katz deserved to be fired for violations of Princeton’s policies, such action should have taken place at that time.”
Excerpt: On May 23, the Princeton Board of Trustees voted to fire tenured professor Joshua Katz on the recommendation of a dean and the president, and with the approval of a faculty committee.
Last month, I wrote at Academe Blog in defense of Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber and his strong defense of free speech against those who demanded that he censor a campus website that criticized Katz. I noted, “It’s astonishing to me that a tenured professor who is not being punished in any way can receive an outpouring of support from numerous national groups demanding the intervention of top officials in order to banish mere criticism of a professor.” I still stand completely behind the second part of that sentence defending the right to criticize Katz. But the first part has obviously changed. Eisgruber was right not to silence Katz’s critics, but he is wrong to fire Katz.
Excerpt: Eminent linguist Joshua Katz was fired Monday by his longtime employer Princeton University in what seems (despite the university’s denials) to be a straightforward act of political retaliation.
His offense? Questioning woke orthodoxy. Katz, long a beloved professor, had the temerity to write an article in 2020 criticizing a letter signed by many Princeton faculty and students. That missive demanded the university undertake such “anti-racist” actions as axing SAT requirements, giving extra sabbatical time to “faculty of color” and appointing a nebulous committee to whom the entire university would be accountable for its efforts on this front.
Excerpt: Princeton University’s Board of Trustees voted Monday to fire Joshua Katz, Cotsen Professor in the Humanities, effective immediately. The university said in a statement that the dismissal followed an investigation initiated in February 2021 after Princeton received a detailed written complaint from an alumna who had a consensual relationship with Katz while she was an undergraduate under his academic supervision.
That relationship was the focus of a 2018 disciplinary proceeding against Katz, which resulted in a penalty of unpaid suspension in 2018–19 and three years of probation following his return, Princeton said.
Excerpt: On Monday, May 23, the University Board of Trustees voted to dismiss classics professor Joshua Katz from his tenured faculty position at Princeton, effective immediately, according to a University statement to The Daily Princetonian.
The decision follows last week’s recommendation from University President Christopher L. Eisgruber ’83 and two separate University investigations into Katz’s misconduct.