Princeton Professor Fired After Sexual Misconduct Investigation, Supporters Say It Was Retaliation For His Viewpoints
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A Princeton University professor was fired after a sexual misconduct investigation into an incident for which it had previously investigated and punished him.

Joshua Katz, who taught classics, was investigated in 2018 for a consensual relationship he had with a student more than 10 years earlier. Katz was suspended without pay for one year and put on probation for three years as punishment for that relationship.

In 2020, Katz wrote an article in the online magazine Quillette, describing a former student group called the Black Justice League “a small local terrorist organization that made life miserable for the many (including the many black students) who did not agree with its members’ demands.”

Predictably, a backlash ensued, and while Princeton University president Christopher Eisgruber publicly stated that the article was protected free speech, the university included the article in a presentation about systemic racism at the university, The Daily Wire previously reported.

In 2021, Princeton’s student newspaper, the Daily Princetonian, wrote a lengthy article highlighting alumni accusing Katz of inappropriate sexual behavior and included an investigation into his consensual relationship with the student.

At some point after, The New York Times reported, that student filed a formal complaint to the university accusing Katz of discouraging her from seeking counseling through the university to ensure their relationship wouldn’t be revealed.

She also claimed he discouraged her from participating in the 2018 investigation. Princeton opened a new investigation and fired Katz, claiming he “exposed the alumna to harm while she was an undergraduate by discouraging her from seeking mental health care although he knew her to be in distress, all in an effort to conceal a relationship he knew was prohibited by university rules.”

Katz’s attorney, Samantha Harris, told the Times that investigators used things said between Katz and the student during arguments and twisted them into something more. She said Katz provided context dispelling the school’s contention.

As the Times noted, “Dr. Katz and his allies pointed out that he had already been punished once — by being suspended — for the relationship, and contended that it was being resurrected as a pretext to retaliate against him for the Quillette article.”

Harris told The Washington Post that Princeton’s rationale for firing Katz was hard to believe.

“Princeton is going to say this had nothing to do with his political speech and this was a completely new investigation,” Harris told the outlet. “But I don’t think there is a person out there who genuinely doubts that if Professor Katz had not published his article in 2020 that he would be employed by Princeton.”

In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Katz himself addressed his firing, insisting that the reporters behind the Princetonian article had begun “digging into my past in an attempt to destroy me” likely mere hours or days after his Quillette article was published.

Still, Katz said he will weather the storm.

“I will be fine: I have a wonderful wife and parents, I have true friends, and I am not indigent. I won’t need to sell pencils on the street. But not everyone who is dismissed from his job is so fortunate. I shudder to think of how things would be for me if I didn’t have a safety net,” he wrote.”