Identity of Speakers
Tenured Professor of Classics at Princeton University
Incident Political Orientation:
University investigation issuing in sanctions
- Did not involve Speech Codes
In June of 2022, Princeton University fired Professor Joshua Katz, a tenured professor of Classics. The University alleges that his firing resulted from the discovery that Professor Katz did not fully and honestly cooperate with an investigation into his sexual relationship with a student that occurred 15 years before his dismissal. Professor Katz alleges that the University used the sexual relationship as an excuse to fire him in retaliation for an article he wrote in 2020 criticizing faculty members’ initiatives on race and racism.
Prior to his dismissal, Professor Katz was suspended for a year without pay as a penalty for having a sexual relationship with a student. When Professor Katz returned to campus after his suspension, he criticized a letter from colleagues that demanded the University alter its policies to combat systemic racism. Professor Katz warned that the proposals “would lead to civil war on campus and erode even further public confidence in how elite institutions of higher education operate.” Professor Katz also referred to a former student group as “a small local terrorist organization that made life miserable for the students (including the many black students) who did not agree with its members’ demands.”
The President of the University, Christopher Eisgruber, publicly condemned Professor Katz for “unfairly disparag[ing] members of the Black Justice League.” However, the President initially promised that Professor Katz would not be punished for his statements.
Soon after, students and faculty began to investigate Professor Katz’s leave of absence from the University, and discovered it was in connection to his sexual relationship with a student. The student with whom he had an affair 15 years ago came forward during this controversy and alleged a new claim against Professor Katz: that, during their affair, Professor Katz discouraged her from seeking mental health treatment because he was concerned it might reveal their relationship.
The University initiated a second investigation based on the student’s claim and subsequently dismissed Professor Katz.