Princeton University’s Board of Trustees voted to fire tenured classics professor Joshua Katz on Monday — and the reason why has Cockburn adjusting his monocle to look a bit closer at the circumstances.
Katz first came under scrutiny in 2018 for a consensual sexual relationship he had with a student at least a decade prior. At the time, he was suspended from his job for a year without pay. Then, new allegations arose that Katz had not been fully honest nor had fully cooperated with the previous investigation. Much to the chagrin of any frat guy looking to him for advice on how to score, Princeton gave him the boot.
Some people opposed to firing Katz noticed that this sudden surge of interest into the case came not long after Katz spoke against so-called “anti-racist” proposals being pushed by his fellow faculty members after the death of George Floyd. Katz said these proposals would “lead to civil war on campus and erode even further public confidence in how elite institutions of higher education operate.”
Considering the impact Floyd’s death had on the country already — that being the fiery protests, the millions of dollars in damage to public and private property alike, and several cases of murder — some would tend to agree with Katz. This was not the case, however, for the higher-ups, including Princeton’s president, Christopher Eisgruber.
In an opinion piece, Eisgruber condemned Katz for labeling an inactive student group, the “Black Justice League,” as “irresponsible and offensive,” and went on to endorse the “anti-racism” proposals. Then, a year later, Princeton’s student newspaper, the Daily Princetonian, alleged at the behest of anonymous alumni that Katz did not fully participate in the 2018 misconduct investigation. Princeton initiated a second probe, and Eisgruber himself sent a letter to the Board of Trustees encouraging them to fire Katz.
After the campus’s rebuke of Katz for daring to question his colleagues’ left-wing policy demands, it comes as no surprise to Cockburn that the court of public opinion turned against the man. Although liberal stances are rife with contradictions, there is one thing that holds clear: anyone who dares stands up to “progress” must be destroyed.
While the #MeToo movement comes and goes (often with election cycles), undoubtedly there is a political slant in terms of the coverage of allegations and whether they are taken seriously. Let’s compare the Katz case with Christine Blasey Ford and Tara Reade, who accused now-justice Brett Kavanaugh and now-president Joe Biden, respectively.
Ford received endless news coverage on her alleged assault by Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings. With the clarity of hindsight (and a touch of bourbon), Cockburn could not help but wonder if the amount of airtime Blasey Ford garnered on the mainstream news had anything to do with Kavanaugh’s status as a Trump appointee. Since Trump is the media’s favorite whipping boy (yes, even after the 2020 election), the media has never passed up on a chance to toss mud at him and anybody remotely associated with him (see also: Nick Sandmann, Amy Coney Barrett, Ron DeSantis…). Stories about Ford’s accusations are still found in wild today, like a 2021 article from the Guardian titled, “FBI failed to fully investigate Kavanaugh allegations, say Democrats”.
Reade, in contrast, received a pittance of the coverage Ford got, and whatever attention she was given was laced with scorn. Politico went full smear job, claiming that Reade was “manipulative” and left people “feeling duped” with her accusation against Biden. There was less skepticism for Ford, even when her testimony was challenged by Kavanaugh’s Deus Ex Calendar (seriously, who keeps their calendar?). Democrats and the media insisted her story must be true, even though she could recall scant details of what allegedly happened or when the attack may have occurred.
The left rejects due process when it suits their needs and goals. Cockburn find the practice even more disturbing when it’s carried out by academia — the supposed arbiters of learning and truth. Princeton has the gall to proclaim as its informal motto, “In service to humanity.”
The actions of the Princeton Board of Trustees, who chose to relieve Katz of his tenured position despite him having already served his punishment, confirms the idea that nobody is safe — if they are on the “wrong” side, that is.