Latest News and Commentary: Princeton

July 24, 2022
By Susan Svrluga
The Washington Post

Excerpt: Alumni groups pressing free-speech issues are popping up at colleges in many states, as debates over academic freedom, “cancel culture” and changes on campus intensify.

More than a dozen groups have joined the Alumni Free Speech Alliance, a group announced last fall that now includes graduates from schools including Harvard, Bucknell, Yale and Cornell universities, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Wofford and Davidson colleges. Organizers say hundreds of people from schools all across the country have contacted them, all graduates who have questions they say their traditional alumni associations are not asking.

July 19, 2022
By Ellen Li and Junnan Chen
Daily Princetonian

Excerpt: Many students may not be familiar with Professor Erin Y. Huang, but we consider her one of Princeton University’s finest instructors. Huang is an assistant professor in the East Asian Studies and comparative literature departments, an executive member of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program of the Humanities and Committee of Film Studies, and the only scholar at Princeton working on Sinophone studies and critical theory. She is Junnan’s dissertation adviser and Ellen’s senior thesis advisor.

Yet it seems that the University has no desire to retain Huang. To the shock of many students, alumni, and faculty, she was recently denied tenure. The denial of tenure to Huang reveals dire systemic injustices perpetrated by the conservative, non-transparent, and anti-democratic tenure process.

July 13, 2022
By Joshua Katz

Excerpt: Last week's July 4th New Yorker cover depicts an America divided. On the left side, a progressive lies in a hammock, a Black Lives Matter sign displayed prominently in the front yard. On the right, a paunchy man in a MAGA hat rests on his porch swing, behind signs supporting veterans and the police. The neighbors face opposite directions and stare at their phones. They do not speak.

Many of us would like to see these neighbors turn around and speak to each other again. This will require a multiplicity of ideas; no single approach will work. But I have a modest proposal for how to start. I call it the Heterodox Challenge, or, if you prefer, #HeterodoxChallenge.

July 12, 2022
By Paul Needham

Excerpt: In 2008, in conversation (that is, in heated argument) with me about another matter of academic discipline, [Christopher] Eisgruber, then provost of the university, took the position that a Princeton employee who had lied about possessing three academic degrees she did not possess nevertheless should not be fired. What wrong has Katz committed that goes so far beyond the apparently forgivable sin of multiple academic frauds?

Paul Needham was Princeton’s Scheide librarian from 1998 to 2020.

July 10, 2022
By Abigail Anthony
National Review

Excerpt: On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, prompting virtually every university to declare a day of mourning — for women’s autonomy, not for the millions of innocent children who have been aborted.
The Office of Diversity & Inclusion and the Gender + Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) of Princeton University released a statement condemning the Dobbs decision. The decree stands as an informative exemplar of how universities advance a political agenda, even through non-academic units, by issuing a formal pronouncement on a divisive topic and framing any dissent as morally reprehensible.



July 6, 2022
By Keith E. Whittington & Eugene Volokh
The Volokh Conspiracy, Reason Magazine

Excerpt: A new episode of The Academic Freedom Podcast from the Academic Freedom Alliance is now available. Subscribe through your favorite platform so you don't miss an episode.

In this episode, I talk with co-blogger and First Amendment expert Eugene Volokh about a couple of recent blog posts. He recently wrote about the report of the Georgetown University Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity & Affirmative Action in response to the Ilya Shapiro controversy at the Georgetown University Law Center.


July 5, 2022
By Clifford Ando
Chronicle of Higher Education

Excerpt: How does tenure end? The question is not simply theoretical, nor does it have a single answer. But one answer has been supplied by the conduct of Princeton University in its recent firing of Joshua Katz, a classics professor. Tenure ends when the president of the university “personally” finds you not to have exercised your right to free speech “responsibly.”

July 1, 2022
By Anemona Hartocollis

Excerpt: Solveig Lucia Gold was setting the table in her backyard, next door to the house once occupied by Albert Einstein. Her yard is a sweeping field of emerald green grass leading down to the 18th-century blacksmith’s cottage with stone floors that houses her home study.

Ms. Gold, 27, was preparing for an intimate dinner with some of the few people — “our little cabal,” she said — who publicly admit to being on friendly terms with her and her husband, the recently fired (she prefers “canceled”) former Princeton classics professor Joshua Katz.

June 27, 2022
By Richard Vedder
James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Excerpt: Presidents of prestigious universities often make outrageous decisions inconsistent with such bedrock values as freedom of expression and providing the accused with traditional American due process. The shameful manner in which Princeton University fired Joshua Katz, a distinguished scholar and winner of several teaching awards, leads me to consider Christopher Eisgruber to be the worst Ivy League president, eclipsing even the earlier shenanigans of Yale’s Peter Salovey.

If this were an aberration in the academic world, Princeton’s injustice would not be a cause for serious concern. But university presidents striving to be politically correct have frequently thrown principles and fair play aside to appease campus militants, particularly on matters involving race.

June 24, 2022
By Aaron Sibarium
Washington Free Beacon

Excerpt:Announcing the unceremonious dismissal, Princeton said Katz had dissuaded the former student from participating in a 2018 probe into the affair and discouraged her from "seeking mental health care" while she was an undergraduate. Both findings were based on excerpts of a voluminous email correspondence between Katz and the alumna, exchanged over 13 years, in which she sent him professions of love, allegations of "abuse," and threats of suicide.