Princeton Finally Fires Katz
Well, we knew they were going to get Joshua Katz, and the finally did, terminating the Classics professor’s employment after 25 years.In a Wall Street Journal op-ed (paywalled), Katz reflects on his mistake in claiming last year that he had survived cancel culture at Princeton, because Princeton president Christopher Eisgruber had publicly conceded that his controversial op-ed was protected speech. Excerpts:
The issues around my termination aren’t easy to summarize. What is nearly impossible to deny (though Princeton does deny it) is that I have been subjected to “cultural double jeopardy,” with the university relitigating a long-past offense—I had a consensual relationship with a 21-year-old student—for which I was already suspended for a year without pay well over a decade after my offense. This was, I emphasize, a violation of an internal university rule, not a Title IX matter or any other crime.
So what did I get wrong? There are at least five things of which I was unaware.
First, I didn’t yet know that one of my colleagues had, in her official capacity as director of graduate studies, written an individualletter to every graduate student in the classics department about the “pain” I had caused.
Second, I didn’t yet know that, in a Zoom session about “equity” only a couple of days later, students and colleagues would badger me to apologize. (For what exactly, they did not say, and I refused—which was absolutely the right thing to do.)
Third, I didn’t yet know that, with only a handful of exceptions, almost none of my colleagues would ever speak to me again.
Fourth, I didn’t yet know that the university would make an example of me to the entire incoming freshman class in August 2021, singling me out among sitting faculty as a virulent racist, in part by doctoring a quotation from my article—a move that has brought widespread condemnation.
And then there is the fifth thing. I didn’t yet know at the end of July 2020—and could scarcely have imagined—that two student reporters at the Daily Princetonian had begun digging into my past in an attempt to destroy me. The result of their investigations was published in early February 2021, whereupon the editor-in-chief wrote an email to her staff about the “stellar reporting,” which “has been in the works for seven months,” that is to say, since early July 2020, only days, if not hours, after I had criticized the faculty letter.
This stellar reporting uncovered the illicit relationship, which was already known to the administration and for which I had already been punished. But that is not all: The reporters also made a series of false and outrageous claims about my behavior. As longtime New York Times legal reporter Stuart Taylor Jr. put it, the Daily Princetonian’s “unprecedented investigation and hit piece . . . threw away basic journalistic standards,” for “[n]o credible newspaper would . . . print an article with such a large number of unnamed sources, filled with conjecture and innuendo.”
Anybody with two brain cells to rub together knows that if Joshua Katz had not written an op-ed criticizing a totalitarian power grab by racialized Princeton faculty in the Summer of Floyd, he would still be teaching at the university. Princeton’s board might have fired Joshua Katz, but what it has really done is killed its reputation as a place where academic freedom exists. Again, even if we concede, solely for the sake of argument, that Prof. Katz had not been sufficiently forthcoming in 2018, it could not possibly be clearer that this was a political firing.
Here is a link to the 2020 Quillette op-ed that led to his firing. Behold, the crypto-Klucker rhetoric the distinguished Classicist deployed in objecting to the ultra-woke proposal to racialize Princeton life. Excerpt:
But then there are dozens of proposals that, if implemented, would lead to civil war on campus and erode even further public confidence in how elite institutions of higher education operate. Some examples: “Reward the invisible work done by faculty of color with course relief and summer salary” and “Faculty of color hired at the junior level should be guaranteed one additional semester of sabbatical” and “Provide additional human resources for the support of junior faculty of color.” Let’s leave aside who qualifies as “of color,” though this is not a trivial point. 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.
If you say that it’s wrong to give extra pay to Princeton professors simply because they are black, then, well, you’re basically Lester Maddox.
What a shitshow American higher education is, especially at the elite level. Who but persecutorial woke commissars like Eddie Glaude and Dan-el Padilla Peralta could possibly want to teach in them? It’s going to take a lot more than things like this to ruin the reputation of Princeton, or any other Ivy, as a portal into the American ruling class. But young Americans who value intellectual freedom and old-fashioned American liberties ought to be put on notice by Princeton’s throwing Joshua Katz to the woke mob. Steer clear of this university. It is a place where professors now know that to get on the wrong side of the woke mob is to risk career destruction.
This could happen anywhere wokeness rules institutional culture. Which is just about everywhere. You may think, Too bad for Joshua Katz, but that couldn’t happen to me. You are wrong. And when they come for you, do your best to hold your ground and your head high, like Joshua Katz did. They fired him, the bastards, but they did not break him.