Princeton University professor Joshua Katz claims an ongoing sexual misconduct investigation against him is "politically motivated."
Katz says the university decided to investigate an incident from 2006 after he publicly criticized the university's proposals to "address Princeton's racist history" in 2020, following George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.
According to the New York Post, Katz penned an online essay in July 2020 in response to an open letter signed by students, staff and alumni. The letter called for a committee to examine racism on campus. Katz said the proposal would lead to crackdowns on free speech and that he was "embarrassed" for colleagues who signed it.
The president of the university last week recommended the board of trustees fire Katz in connection with a relationship he had with a student in 2006, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
But the sexual misconduct matter was already dealt with in 2018. Following an investigation, the university penalized Katz with a temporary suspension. Katz has also allegedly refused to cooperate with the investigation and deliberately mislead people by giving them false information.
A second investigation into Katz launched in 2020, following the publication of his online essay.
Those calling for Katz's dismissal say it's separate from his politics, but free speech advocates remain concerned.
"With the firing of Professor Katz, Princeton will have sent a message,” said Edward Yingling, co-founder of Princetonians for Free Speech.
Dr. Katz's lawyer, Samantha Harris, told the press, "If expressing an unpopular opinion is an invitation to have your personal life turned inside
out looking for damaging evidence, how many people are going to be willing to speak out?"
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