Joshua Katz’s dismissal is related to his inappropriate conduct with a female student, the university said. He says criticism of a campus protest group is the issue.

Princeton fired a classics professor, “effective immediately,” on Monday after the university’s administration found that he had not been fully honest and cooperative with an investigation into his sexual relationship with an undergraduate student about 15 years ago, the New York Times reports.

The dismissal of the professor, Joshua Katz, was a rare case of a tenured professor being dismissed, and came after a fierce debate on campus and in wider political spheres over whether he was targeted for his politics. In 2020, he wrote an article in Quillette, an online journal, that criticized anti-racist proposals by Princeton faculty, students and staff.

The university’s statement on the firing did not even allude to the free speech issue. The reasons the university gave for dismissal were based on a “detailed written complaint from an alumna who had a consensual relationship with Dr. Katz while she was an undergraduate under his academic supervision.” That relationship was in 2006 and 2007, but the alumna did not file her complaint until 2021.

Dr. Katz, 52, said Princeton had treated him with “gross unfairness” after he had given his “entire career” to the university.

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