Princeton University’s board of trustees voted Monday to dismiss Joshua Katz, a Kotsen professor in the humanities department, with immediate effect.
The university said in a statement that Princeton was fired after receiving detailed written complaints from an alumnus following an investigation that began in February 2021 and had a consensual relationship with Katz while he was graduating under academic supervision.
That relationship was the focus of 2018 disciplinary action against Katz, which resulted in an unpaid suspension in 2018-19 and a three-year trial fine after his return, Princeton said.
According to Princeton, unnamed alumni did not participate in or cooperate with the 2018 disciplinary activities. But when he stepped forward in 2021, he launched a new investigation into what Princeton called “new information.” The second investigation did not reconsider the policy violations for which Katz had previously been convicted, according to Princeton: “It only considers new matters because of the new information provided by the alumni.”
“The 2021 investigation established multiple instances where Dr. Katz misrepresented or failed to simplify information during the 2018 process, including a successful attempt to discourage alumni from participating and collaborating after he stated his intention to do so,” the university said. He said “It was also found that Dr. Katz exposed alumni for harm when he was a graduate discouraged him from taking mental health care even though he knew he was in trouble, trying to hide a relationship that he knew was prohibited by university rules. . These activities are not only a serious violation of university policy, but also completely inconsistent with its obligation as a member of the faculty. “
Katz has previously denied that he was involved in any behavior other than the one he was fired from in 2018. He argued that Princeton wanted to fire him because of his political rhetoric, including for a 2020 essay in which he referred to a group of black students. “Small local terrorist organization.” But the announcement of Princeton’s dismissal sheds new light on the 2021 investigation; Contrary to Katz’s public statement that he is being effectively republished for the same violation for political reasons, Princeton is now keeping an eye on various allegations from the alumni because Katz (according to Princeton’s apparent investigation) intercepted him. Participate in the first investigation.
Free lecture and faculty responsibilities
Princeton said the recommendation for Katz’s dismissal was reviewed by the conference and faculty committee of faculty appeals, and “after reviewing the relevant investigation report and Dr. Katz’s submission and interviewing Dr. Katz and others, the committee found the reasons presented. The recommendation to dismiss the dean of the faculty was supported by the record. “
President Christopher Icegrouber briefly discussed the Katz case in a speech to alumni over the weekend. Icegruber said in a statement that he could not share details of Katz’s then-suspended dismissal, but he told alumni that Princeton had “a strong commitment to freedom of speech” that contained comments that had obscured some recent alumni. By, that is mentioned in some news coverage about Katz.
“So the first point. We have broad and strong policies to protect our freedom of speech, “said Icegruber.” Second, we also have policies that impose responsibilities on faculty members. There are restrictions on sexual misconduct, including the need for honesty and co-operation in university activities and investigations.
If faculty members violate those rules, Eisgruber continues, “We discipline faculty members for this. And in appropriate cases that discipline may extend from faculty to dismissal. We take those rules very seriously here, and we believe that a faculty member is bound by that obligation, no matter how prominent they may be and whatever their political views may be. Political views are not a reason to investigate. They do not have a defense to investigate anyone. And I don’t know if all universities take this approach, but we do believe that it is important to hold faculty members accountable. Just like people are responsible for any business you have. ”
Icegrouber added that Princeton, in its years, “was unwilling to accept a gag order in exchange for a solution where no one left quietly.” He added, “We think it’s important that we can speak after the truth.”
Katz immediately responded to a request for comment.