Latest News and Commentary: Princeton

May 23, 2022
By Paige Cromley
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: President Christopher Eisgruber ’83 has recommended that classics professor Joshua Katz be fired from his tenured professorship after an internal investigation found Katz in violation of University rules, according to reports in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

Eisgruber made the recommendation to the University Board of Trustees in a letter dated May 10 based on a November report by Dean of the Faculty Gene Jarrett, according to a copy of his letter reviewed by the Journal.

May 23, 2022
By The Editors
National Review

Excerpt: Joshua Katz is an eminent classics professor who holds degrees from Yale, Oxford, and Harvard, and is the Cotsen Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University. But he refused to bow to the new “anti-racist” orthodoxy, and for that transgression, Princeton is apparently preparing to strip him of tenure and terminate his employment. This act would be a shameful repudiation of what is supposed to be one of the core missions of a great university — and Princeton alumni and donors should make their voices heard while the board of trustees deliberates on Katz’s fate.

May 20, 2022
By By The Editorial Board

Everyone knows American universities are dangerous places these days if you dare to express unpopular views. But Princeton University’s handling of classics professor Joshua Katz is still shocking for its procedural double jeopardy.

May 19, 2022
By Keith E. Whittington
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: This fall I participated in the annual Frankel Lecture symposium at the University of Houston Law School. The topic was on academic freedom and diversity, and the lecture was delivered by Jeannie Suk Gersen of Harvard Law School. I provided a response, along with Khiara M. Bridges of Berkeley Law School.

The articles from the symposium have now been published online and printed in the latest issue of the Houston Law Review. My article, "Academic Freedom and the Mission of the University," focuses on the relationship between the mission of the university and the commitment to and value of academic freedom to that university.

Click here for link to Keith Whittington’s Article in Houston Law Review:

May 19, 2022
By Anemona Hartocollis
New York Times

Excerpt: In July 2020, as social justice protests roiled the nation, Joshua Katz, a Princeton classics professor, wrote in a small influential journal that some faculty proposals to combat racism at Princeton would foment “civil war on campus,” and denounced a student group, the Black Justice League, as “a small local terrorist organization” because of its tactics in pushing for institutional changes.

The case has deeply divided the campus. Many students were already furious about his Quillette article. And the potential firing has only fueled the controversy — with dividing lines between those who see it as thinly disguised retaliation for offensive speech, and those who believe that the furor over his remarks about race incidentally exposed additional troubling behavior.

May 19, 2022
By By Douglas Belkin and Melissa Korn

Princeton University’s president has recommended that the school’s board of trustees fire a tenured classics professor, concluding he didn’t cooperate fully in a sexual-misconduct investigation, according to a copy of his letter to the board’s chair reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

The recommended dismissal is being assailed by the professor’s supporters as a politically motivated cover.

May 17, 2022
By Aaron Sibarium
Washington Free Beacon

Editorial Note: 

Princeton University is planning to fire one of the most distinguished classics professors in the country, Joshua Katz, after his criticism of the school’s racial politics made him the target of student protests and the subject of two separate university investigations. University president Christopher Eisgruber—who in 2020 alleged that Katz had failed to exercise his free speech "responsibly"—passed his recommendation that Katz be stripped of tenure and fired to the university’s board of trustees last week, according to three sources with firsthand knowledge of the situation.

It is rare for a university to fire a tenured professor, and even rarer for a university to fire a professor with Katz’s record: By the university’s own admission, he did not commit fraud or sexual misconduct, two of the most common grounds for revoking tenure. Rather, the university is citing as grounds for dismissal a consensual relationship Katz engaged in with a student more than a decade ago, and for which he was already disciplined by the school in 2018.

The board is all but guaranteed to accept Eisgruber’s recommendation when it meets on Wednesday, the sources said. Board members include Yale Law School dean Heather Gerken, who has presided over several high-profile free speech-related scandals on her campus, including the intimidation of a second-year law student by university administrators. Princeton University did not respond to a request for comment. Katz is perhaps the campus’s most outspoken critic of the school’s backbreaking political correctness, including calls from faculty members to award their minority colleagues extra sabbatical time, "course relief," and "summer salary." His criticism has been frank and unsparing.

Click the link below to read the article

May 11, 2022
By Paige Cromley
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: Princetonians for Free Speech (PFS) published a notice on their website on April 19 claiming that the University’s Committee on Conference and Faculty Appeal (CCFA) had upheld an appeal regarding a complaint initiated by eight University faculty members about the University’s treatment of Joshua Katz. The complaint argued the University had unfairly targeted classics professor Katz by including a segment about his controversial statement on the first-year orientation website To Be Known and Heard.

PFS editors' note: This article in the Daily Princetonian covers the very important unanimous ruling by a faculty appeal committee that upholds a complaint filed against university administrators in the Katz matter. There are two important points left out of the article. First, Professor Klainerman has publicly stated he received a copy of the ruling directly from Professor Schwartzbauer, the appeal committee chair. Second, the appeal committee also found that the doctoring of the quote in question from Professor Katz by Princeton Administrators, which President Eisgruber dismissed as a "mistake," did, in fact, alter the meaning of the quote and should be investigated as to whether it violated Princeton rules.

May 9, 2022
By Shane Patrick
The Princeton Tory

Excerpt: “Beware of the left-wing mob.” It’s an oft-repeated slogan among proponents of free speech on college campuses around the country and certainly at Princeton. The Princeton Open Campus Coalition (POCC), the organization dedicated to the promotion of free speech on this campus, made it the focus of its signature event this year, “Mob Rule: The Illiberal Left’s Threat to Campus Discourse.” POCC brought in some high-profile speakers for an interesting panel discussion, but unfortunately the event’s headline performer—the so-called left-wing mob—failed to show.

I think that the event and the absence of the “mob” bring to light a key flaw in campus free-speech rhetoric: its dependence on enemies to legitimize itself.

May 6, 2022
By Sergiu Klainerman
Tablet Magazine

Excerpt: Princeton University’s Board of Trustees recently approved the extension of Christopher L. Eisgruber’s presidency by at least five years, citing a record of accomplishment. The board also praised Eisgruber for his “outspoken defense of free speech and academic freedom.”

Those who know the president’s enthusiastic embrace seven years ago of the principles of free expression, first formulated at the University of Chicago, may find this plausible. Yet in the past two years, he and his administration have taken positions and actions that plainly go against the so-called Chicago Principles. Which is why the most respected campus free speech organization in the country, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), ranked Princeton a dismal 135 out of 154 in its most recent free speech rankings of colleges and universities.