by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Joshua Katz, a tenured classics professor at Princeton whose criticism of left-wing activism at the university provoked outrage and protests on campus, has officially been fired. Zachary Evans reports:
“Princeton University’s Board of Trustees fired classics professor Joshua Katz, the university said in a Monday statement, claiming that the longtime faculty member “failed to be straightforward” during a 2018 investigation into a relationship between Katz and an undergraduate student.” …
… But for anyone who’s been paying attention, it’s pretty obvious that the real reason for Katz’s termination was political. In particular, as Evans notes, allies of the professor “have claimed that the firing was motivated by the professor’s criticism of Princeton’s ‘anti-racism’ initiatives. In a 2020 essay for Quillette, Katz criticized a faculty letter stating that ‘Anti-Blackness is foundational to America,’ and referred to a student group called the Black Justice League as ‘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.’”
As a result of the activist-led backlash to those comments, the Princeton administration has been gunning for Katz’s head for some time. Katz’s controversy-inducing comments about the Black Justice League being “a small local terrorist organization” were added to Princeton’s mandatory freshman-orientation course on the university’s legacy of racism, posted on the school’s official website. The section added denunciations of Katz from his colleagues and the university president himself, noting that “President Eisgruber condemned the words used by Katz” and that “the Classics Department made a strong statement against his views as well, arguing that they were ‘fundamentally incompatible with our mission and values as educators.’” But most scandalous of all, the portrayal of the comment itself was dishonestly edited to make it sound more provocative.