A tenured professor at Princeton University was fired by the school Monday for misleading officials about his consensual relationship with an undergraduate 15 years ago.
The New York Times reported that an investigation into Classics professor Joshua Katz was launched in 2021 after the school “received a detailed written complaint from an alumna” who had been under his academic supervision.
The investigation revealed that Katz “misrepresented facts or failed to be straightforward” about his relationship and discouraged the student from “seeking mental health care although he knew her to be in distress, all in an effort to conceal a relationship.”
“These actions were not only egregious violations of university policy, but also entirely inconsistent with his obligations as a member of the faculty,” the Ivy League school said in a statement.
‘Angry and Heartbroken’
Dr. Katz was previously investigated in 2018 for being in a relationship with the woman and was given a year-long, unpaid suspension for violating the school’s sexual misconduct policies.
Officials said the student came forward last year with information that Princeton had not been previously aware of, prompting the latest investigation.
The 52-year-old professor is “both angry and heartbroken” and believes the school has treated him with “gross unfairness” after he gave his entire career to the university.
He added that the school’s decision was colored by his comments on free speech.
This includes his criticism of anti-racist proposals in a 2020 letter signed by more than 300 Princeton students, faculty, and staff. In one of his recent op-eds in The Wall Street Journal, Katz wrote that he is being punished for criticizing Princeton’s “cancel culture.”
Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber denied Katz’s accusations that he was dismissed over free speech issues.
“Political views aren’t a reason to investigate anybody,” he told The New York Times. “They’re also not a defense for investigating anybody.”