Posted on May 20, 2022

Princeton Prepares to Axe Star Professor Who Raised Hell Over Woke Lunacy

Aaron Sibarium, Washington Free Beacon, May 17, 2022

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 Ivy League classicist has been the subject of two separate investigations over the past two years, in part because he has been a vocal critic of the argument—advanced by Eisgruber and others—that Princeton is a systemically racist institution. The university had settled the matter of his relationship in 2018—with Katz taking a year’s unpaid leave as a suspension—but decided to investigate it again in the wake of his controversial remarks, leading to speculation the events are linked.

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: “It boggles my mind that anyone would advocate giving people—extraordinarily privileged people already, let me point out: Princeton professors—extra perks for no reason other than their pigmentation,” he wrote in July 2020 in an essay for Quillette. {snip}


{snip} On July 26, 2020, he wrote in the Wall Street Journal that he had “survived cancellation” after the university dropped an investigation into the Quillette essay, which characterized a Princeton student group as a “local terrorist organization.” That characterization came amid criticism of an open letter, signed by hundreds of Princeton faculty, that claimed “anti-Blackness is foundational to America” and demanded the university “acknowledge, credit, and incentivize anti-racist student activism.”


Though the university did not formally sanction Katz, it did include him on a list of racists—such as the notorious segregationist Woodrow Wilson—who have marred Princeton’s legacy, which was published on a university website and presented at a mandatory orientation session for freshmen in August.

The second investigation, conducted by the dean of the Office of Faculty, sealed Katz’s fate. In February 2021, the Daily Princetonian reported that Katz had engaged in a consensual relationship with an undergraduate student in the mid-2000s, violating the university’s ban on student-faculty relations.

The university had already adjudicated the violation confidentially, quietly disciplining Katz with a yearlong suspension after a separate investigation in 2018. {snip}


But the Title IX office found that Katz hadn’t violated the school’s harassment policies. {snip}