How Princeton Eviscerated Its Free Speech Rule and Covered It Up

March 05, 2022 1 min read

By Edward Yingling and Stuart Taylor Jr

Originally published in Real Clear Politics

In July 2020, a Princeton University professor, Joshua Katz, wrote an article containing provocative language that generated controversy on campus. While voicing strong disagreement with that language, Princeton President Christopher Eisgruber clearly and publicly stated a few days later that it was protected by Princeton’s university-wide rule on free speech. But since then, through other Princeton officials, the university has for over a year viciously attacked Professor Katz as a racist on its website and elsewhere for the exact same language. These attacks have clearly violated the Princeton free speech rule, as well as other Princeton rules.

When eight Princeton professors, acting as whistleblowers, filed a formal complaint about these attacks last October, high-ranking Princeton officials responded with a ruling that can only be described as a crude attempt to cover up the university’s violations; in the process, they eviscerated the free speech rule. The officials absurdly found that the widely disseminated presentation smearing Katz was not an “official University document” despite overwhelming public evidence that it is. They also issued a false interpretation of the free speech rule, stating dishonestly that it did not apply to Professor Katz’s language. Furthermore, under their deliberate misinterpretation, the free speech rule will no longer protect the vast majority of other statements by students and faculty that are clearly protected by its language and intent.

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