May 24, 2022

"Princeton University’s board of trustees voted Monday to fire Joshua Katz, a tenured professor in the classics department..."

"... for failing to fully cooperate with a sexual-misconduct investigation that his supporters say is retaliation for his viewpoints.... [Samantha] Harris, Katz’s attorney, said the university’s actions could have a chilling effect on free speech on college campuses. 'The message to other people who might want to speak out is the price is having your personal life turned inside-out looking for information to destroy you,' Harris said. This is 'someone who was previously an award-winning, highly-respected professor, but from the moment he published that article onward he became a relentless target until he was fired.' [Gene A.] Jarrett, the faculty dean, pushed back against the assertion that Katz’s views were the catalyst for the investigation in a November report on the probe, saying 'the current political climate of the university, whether perceived or real, is not germane to the case.'" 

WaPo reports.

Here's my earlier post on this case.

The top-rated comment at the new article is: "I work at a university and it is a pretty clear policy and clearly understood that engaging in a relationship with a student will get you fired no matter what your politics or rank."

Okay, but then it had better be the case that every single one of these having-sex-with-students professors has been fired. No mercy. Zero tolerance. Yet, Katz's case itself shows that's not the policy, because the University looked into this very relationship in 2018: "He was suspended without pay for a year for violating school policy banning sexual relationships between faculty and students, and placed on three years’ probation."

39 comments:

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Let me guess: they go after MeToo cases (or "poisonous workplace" cases) in a somewhat unpredictable way, depending on how angry a few particular individual victims are; but they go after political incorrectness in a much more predictable way, sometimes using a previously "resolved" MeToo case as a pretext.

BUMBLE BEE said...

Cooperate fully? Place the capsule between your teeth and bite down sharply.

Mike Sylwester said...

Princeton administrators sure are smart and sure to have lots of integrity.

They are good role models for their university's faculty and students and for our entire society.

Jamie said...

I had two professors who were widely known to be involved with students. Both had married former students with whom they'd been involved when the young women were their students (not just students but their students), and at least one then had an affair with another current student of his that led to his divorcing his student-wife; I can't remember whether the other professor was cheating on his student-wife.

The first guy had been married to a non-student originally and had a child, his only one, from that marriage; his student-wife had been the Other Woman in the relationship that broke up his first marriage. The second Other Women was in the class ahead of mine and continued to date him for a while after he divorced his student-wife, but one way or another they eventually parted. The prof seemed to like to think of himself as a uxorious man, but in fact he was just a horndog.

Both profs were progressive as heck, but one can't conclude anything from that.

Sebastian said...

"Katz's case itself shows that's not the policy"

The policy is to use the policy as needed for prog purposes.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Punishment is never ending when totalitarians, or mobs, are executing policy.

Amadeus 48 said...

Katz was fired because he didn't cooperate fully with the investigation ten years ago, even though he was suspended and put on probation? That does not pass the sniff test.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/princeton-board-fires-tenured-professor-joshua-katz-backing-presidents-recommendation-11653342764

Pull the other one, mate. It has bells on it.



Bob Boyd said...

[Gene A.] Jarrett, the faculty dean, pushed back against the assertion that Katz’s views were the catalyst for the investigation in a November report on the probe, saying 'the current political climate of the university, whether perceived or real, is not germane to the case.'

It was just serendipity.

Kevin said...

Okay, but then it had better be the case that every single one of these having-sex-with-students professors has been fired.

Col. Hans Landa : [giddy] Oooh, that's a bingo! Is that the way you say it? "That's a bingo?"

Lt. Aldo Raine : You just say "bingo."

Owen said...

Looks as if Princeton has crossed a Rubicon of sorts. It can’t undo this. I wonder if it understands how this changes, changes utterly, the culture and reputation of the place.

Dave Begley said...

I know for a fact that two law professors had sex with law students. And a Big Ten law prof visited Creighton and propositioned two of my Catholic (and engaged) female classmates. At that time, there was an apartment and bedroom in the law school. Fr. Schlegel got rid of that and converted that space to productive academic uses.

Mr. T. said...

Except far-left nutcase Avital Ronnell was not fired for her sexual extortion and assault because it would expose the #metoo hypocrites.


Worse a bunch of gender grievance studies grifters led by antisemite Judith Butler defended her and blamed her victim.

No, this is pure retaliation by Princeton for Mr. Katz having the gall to challenge the Critical Race Theocracy orthodoxy.

campy said...

"...the university’s actions could have a chilling effect on free speech on college campuses."

That's their intent.

walk don't run said...

Maybe the Constitution should have a Double Jeopardy Clause? Oh it does! Princeton clearly does not understand that concept. More's the pity since I think they will pay dearly for their double conviction and punishment. There's madness brewing in academia.

Lucien said...

What's the basis for the second punishment? There do not seem to be allegations of any additional sexual relationships with students, just a complaint relating to the same relationship for which he was already punished. The latest decision seems based on pretext.

Richard said...

Princeton has sent a loud and clear message of its position on free speech. You will toe the party line or be fired.

ccscientist said...

I know several profs (all male) who married their grad students. Where else in a college town can a prof find a wife? The pizza shop? Of course, the power dynamic can be a problem.

Moondawggie said...

Seems like Princeton is enthusiastic about using double jeopardy on folks with politically incorrect views.

Justice? Not so much.

Stephen said...

Althouse:

It appears that the professor's outspokenness, which the university conceded was protected speech, may have led his former student lover to come forward with new information.

The new information was important. It showed that the professor had impeded the first investigation, both by discouraging the student in question from cooperating and by discouraging her from seeking mental health counseling out of a concern that it would ultimately bleed back into the investigation. This is a cover up, and one that involves manipulation of the student and apparent callous disregard for the student's welfare. One does not have to conclude that every consensual relationship calls for firing to conclude that this newly discovered misconduct does call for it.

So should the university not have acted on the new information because the professor had engaged in protected speech which may have led the student to report it? The answer seems obvious--they had to act on it, if protecting students means anything.

What part of this do you disagree with?

Michael K said...

I'm still reading "The dumbest generation grows up." All is coming out as predicted.

n.n said...

15 years the witch hunt and warlock trial, selectively. Princeton University subscribes to an ethical religion.

YoungHegelian said...

I work at a university and it is a pretty clear policy and clearly understood that engaging in a relationship with a student will get you fired no matter what your politics or rank.

My experience with academics, which has extended some 50 years now, and includes having a sibling who was one for 40 years, and many friends in the business, is that the above claim is bullshit.

Narayanan said...

Suppose the course had been about teaching intricacies of the sex-industry and involved class room demonstration and participation - and aimed at K=4 aged kids

y'all can take it from there

mikee said...

Bad cases may make bad law, but hilarious campus sexual hijinks make even worse law.

Owen said...

Stephen @ 9:57: “…new information…”. Link? If indeed Katz concealed evidence from the original investigators —defrauded the university— then that’s a game-changer. But did he? If the complainant decided not to supply the information, was she coerced by Katz or did she just not press a messy matter with no good outcome? If she changed her mind later, why? Should she be charged with having misled the investigators?

And is there anything here more substantial than long-ago allegations; a sad replay of the same old he-said/she-said?

For Princeton to use junk like this to fire a tenured faculty member is pretty sketchy. For it to claim that it has nothing to do with his un-PC speech is ludicrous.

Jupiter said...

"What part of this do you disagree with?"

The part where Princeton University continues to exist.

chuck said...

will get you fired no matter what your politics or rank

Yeah, right. I recall a professor who slept with many of his students, everyone knew, the girls talked about it. Then it again, it was the 70's and ecology was a sexy subject.

Things might be different these days, I have no idea. But the opportunity is there, it isn't unusual for the young ladies to show interest, and some of the young guys too. Such is life among the raging hormones of youth and the temptations of middle age. I expect incidents get conveniently overlooked unless there are complaints.

Jamie said...

It appears that the professor's outspokenness, which the university conceded was protected speech, may have led his former student lover to come forward with new information.

A new claim, that is.

Believe me, I'm not saying that this prof may not have used or abused his position to gain access to his students for forbidden purposes; as I said above, I knew two profs personally who indubitably did. But this "student lover" - are we still talking about his wife, now? Or am I misunderstanding the story? - came forward for a reason of her own, and that reason appears to have been her professor lover's outspokenness. Which suggests that she disagrees with his position. Which gives her the power in the relationship currently, because she can make a new claim, which may or may not be new information, and will likely be believed, because the power dynamic in the early days of their relationship was very skewed to his side and we all see that situation as potentially leading to trouble.

It's still he said/she said, in other words, but it's coming up now because the "she" decided that the "he" was now doing something she didn't like.

bentoak said...

Sleeping with a student wasn't an unforgivable sin, but blaspheming against anti-racism sure was.

tolkein said...

The new information was important. It showed that the professor had impeded the first investigation, both by discouraging the student in question from cooperating and by discouraging her from seeking mental health counseling out of a concern that it would ultimately bleed back into the investigation. This is a cover up, and one that involves manipulation of the student and apparent callous disregard for the student's welfare. One does not have to conclude that every consensual relationship calls for firing to conclude that this newly discovered misconduct does call for it.

So should the university not have acted on the new information because the professor had engaged in protected speech which may have led the student to report it? The answer seems obvious--they had to act on it, if protecting students means anything.

Why didn't she say this when it was investigated? Did her memory suddenly improve?

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Stephen said...
It appears that the professor's outspokenness, which the university conceded was protected speech, may have led his former student lover to come forward with new information.

And if you have a functioning brain, you assume that every single word now going from that politically motivated "former lover" is a lie.

Does she have solid proof that he told her to do these things? Saved texts or emails?

Or is it the situation that an admittedly politically motivated weasel came forward and said "trust me, I lied to you before"?

Narr said...

I can't speak for all academics, but I'm dead certain that if I had been having an affair with a student, I'd have been fired, especially if she was vindictive.



Michael K said...

He badly needed to see The Hot Crazy Matrix.

Michael said...

They want to and will eliminate the Classics one way or the other.

Zach said...

Ok, law question:

If he "agreed to be" suspended for a year and be on probation for three years, then how does he not walk out of that room with a little piece of paper saying that the agreement settles all issues relating to the original complaint and the subsequent investigation?

Either this man has a fool for a lawyer or the university is going to lose badly in court.

Bunkypotatohead said...

He was just trying to make sex fun again.

Narr said...

Teacher-student romances, and marriages, happen all the time.

Our Neo-Victorian notions of propriety aren't workable, no matter how much law is added.

Joanne Jacobs said...

When my sister was in graduate school, she told me all the gossip about professors having sex with students (and each other). Nothing happened to any of the professors -- other than divorce.

We were invited to a 50th anniversary celebration for a couple who began dating when she was an undergrad and he was her (young) professor. They married right after she got her degree. The party was canceled due to the pandemic.

Narr said...

I spent my career on a large university campus as librarian, grad student, and adjunct history prof. A lot of my compeers fucked like monkeys, and others would have died before stepping outside whatever bond or bound they had . . .

One notorious fellow was dubbed Doctor Paws (his name rhymed) for getting handsy with (so far as I know) graduate students. He was on his second wife. Both were academics themselves, neither much to look at even by academic standards, and the second happily oblivious, it was thought, to the tomcattery.

Another guy kept his doxie in the graduate program for twenty years; that was ended, but he's still there.