From the New York Times news section today, what I reported yesterday:
An arbitrator found that the University of Central Florida failed to show “just cause” last year when it fired Charles Negy, a tenured professor whose comments generated outrage on campus.
By Michael Levenson
May 19, 2022
The University of Central Florida must reinstate a longtime tenured professor who was fired after comments he made on Twitter
were roundly condemned as racist following the murder of George Floyd, an arbitrator has ruled.
The arbitrator said that the university failed to show “just cause” in January 2021, when it terminated the professor, Charles Negy, the author of a book titled “White Shaming: Bullying Based on Prejudice, Virtue-Signaling, and Ignorance.”
Available for purchase in paperback for $33.74.
The university indicated it would not challenge the ruling, which requires that Dr. Negy be reinstated with tenure, pay and benefits, and said it would work with him “on the details of his work assignment for the fall term.” …
Dr. Negy, an associate professor of psychology who taught at the university for 22 years and had tenure for 18 years before he was fired, said he expected to be back in the classroom in August.
“It was a fraudulent firing from the beginning,” Dr. Negy said in an interview. “Just because George Floyd died, which was a national tragedy, doesn’t mean the social mob gets to go around demanding people get fired just because they are offended by controversial comments.”
The university had said in June 2020 that it was investigating Dr. Negy’s comments on Twitter as well as accusations of bias and unfair treatment in his classroom. It announced the inquiry one day after he wrote, as demonstrators around the country were protesting Mr. Floyd’s murder, that he had a “sincere question.”
“If Afr. Americans as a group, had the same behavioral profile as Asian Americans (on average, performing the best academically, having the highest income, committing the lowest crime, etc.), would we still be proclaiming ‘systematic racism’ exists?” he wrote.
In another comment on Twitter, he wrote, “Black privilege is real: Besides affirm. action, special scholarships and other set asides, being shielded from legitimate criticism is a privilege. But as a group, they’re missing out on much needed feedback.”
The comments led to student protests, and the Student Senate called for his termination.
University leaders, including the president, Alexander N. Cartwright, said in a statement at the time that they were “disgusted by the racist posts,” and were gathering information about complaints of bias in Dr. Negy’s classes.
“If any student, current or former, believes they may have experienced abusive or discriminatory behavior by any faculty or staff member, we want to know about it,” they wrote.
As outrage spread, Dr. Negy said he deleted the tweets “in a panic,” which he now regrets, because he stands behind them “100 percent.”
In January 2021, the university fired Dr. Negy, although not for his comments on Twitter, which it said were protected by the First Amendment.
In a termination letter, which cited repeated violations of university policies and regulations, the university said Dr. Negy had created “a hostile learning environment” for his students “through discriminatory harassment.”
The letter said he had deterred students from filing complaints about his classroom conduct and had failed to report that a student had told him that she had been sexually assaulted by one of his teaching assistants in February 2014.
As long as you define “sexual assault” as hands-free flirting by a dorky undergrad.
… In the ruling on Monday, the arbitrator, Ben Falcigno, found that the university had failed to show “just cause” when it fired Dr. Negy because it had not given him a chance to change his conduct in the classroom or, alternatively, to show that he was incapable of changing his behavior.
Mr. Falcigno pointed out that Dr. Negy had received three awards for teaching productivity and excellence, and that his last five annual evaluations showed that he was “rated as overall outstanding.” He said the university had also given Dr. Negy a raise to persuade him not to leave.
“There is no evidence that U.C.F. gave him reason to believe he was anything but as highly esteemed as his evaluations and treatment, with no reason to perform differently,” Mr. Falcigno wrote, adding that management was now blaming him for “what it retroactively sees as serious misconduct.”
Alissa Carmi, a U.C.F. senior and former student of Dr. Negy’s, said on Thursday that she was devastated by the finding.
“As soon as I heard that this morning, I bawled my eyes out immediately,” she said.
Contra Richard Hanania, “Women’s Tears [Don’t Always] Win In the Marketplace of Ideas.”
Ms. Carmi said she and a roommate had spent months gathering testimonials from Dr. Negy’s current and former students who felt that they had been subjected to racism and other forms of discrimination in his classroom. …
“It sets a precedent that a professor can dictate religious beliefs, racism and all that just for a grade,” Ms. Carmi said.
Samantha Harris, one of Dr. Negy’s lawyers, called the arbitrator’s finding “a victory for the rule of law, and a reminder that due process matters.”
“The arbitrator’s decision is a powerful rebuke of the ‘show me the man, I’ll find you the crime’ treatment that frightens so many people into silence,” she said. “Cases like this have a tremendous chilling effect on free speech, as most people would rather remain silent than pay the price Dr. Negy has paid for speaking his mind.”
Dr. Negy said he recognized that he may not be warmly welcomed back to campus.
“It’s not fun walking on to campus knowing that your colleagues won’t speak to you, but I don’t give a damn about them,” he said. “I’m going to do what I’m going do.”
Also from the New York Times news section today:
Joshua Katz says he was targeted because of his criticism of a campus protest group. A university report says the concerns are related to his inappropriate conduct with a female student.
Katz is a leading classicist, although he’s more of an Indo-Europeanist.
Here’s his article on whether “testimony” and “testicles” have the same root. Yeah, he sounds like a horndog, but a smart, funny, politically incorrect one.
I wonder if Joshua Katz is related to Jonathan Katz, a Washington U. of St. Louis physics professor whom the Woke are also always trying to get fired?
By Anemona Hartocollis
May 19, 2022
In July 2020, as social justice protests roiled the nation, Joshua Katz, a Princeton classics professor, wrote in a small influential journal that some faculty proposals to combat racism at Princeton would foment “civil war on campus,” and denounced a student group, the Black Justice League, as “a small local terrorist organization” because of its tactics in pushing for institutional changes.
The remarks in Quillette made him a lightning rod in the campus free speech debate, reviled by some who thought what he said was racist, and lionized by others who defended his right to say it.
The NYT won’t link to his essay in Quillette until much later in the article, but I do.
And they sent up a flare that led to scrutiny of other aspects of his life, including his conduct with female students.
Unlike the derisible six-degrees-of-separation charge against Negy that the arbitrator dismissed as having never been communicated to faculty, Katz really did sleep with an undergrad coed, but he was already punished for that several years ago. So the attempt to now fire Katz is obvious double jeopardy.
In the latest fallout from that debate, Princeton’s president has recommended dismissing Dr. Katz, according to a May 10 letter from the president to the chair of the trustees.
But the professor, who is tenured, is not facing dismissal for his speech.
Of course not. If he’d praised Black Lives Matter, all this double jeopardy would have come down upon him anyway.
His job is at stake for what a university report says was his failure to be totally forthcoming about a sexual relationship with a student 15 years ago that he has already been punished for.
… Dr. Katz declined an interview. But his lawyer, Samantha Harris,
Where did we see that name before?
said she was expecting the trustees to fire him. “In our view, this is the culmination of the witch hunt that began days after Professor Katz published an article in Quillette that led people to call for his termination,” Ms. Harris said on Thursday.
Princeton’s faculty dean, Gene A. Jarrett, rejected that view. In a 10-page report, dated Nov. 30, 2021, the dean detailed reasons for dismissing Dr. Katz. Dr. Jarrett addressed what he said was Dr. Katz’s contention that there was a “direct line” from the Quillette article to being investigated for misconduct.
“I have considered Professor Katz’s claim and have determined that the current political climate of the university, whether perceived or real, is not germane to the case, nor does it play a role in my recommendation,” Dr. Jarrett wrote. That document became the basis for the president’s recommendation.
The case has deeply divided the campus. Many students were already furious about his Quillette article. And the potential firing has only fueled the controversy — with dividing lines between those who see it as thinly disguised retaliation for offensive speech, and those who believe that the furor over his remarks about race incidentally exposed additional troubling behavior.
Dr. Katz, 52, has also become a cause célèbre among a number of conservative columnists, some of whom say that his case represents a troubling escalation in the debate over free speech on campuses, in which expressing an unorthodox opinion is not a matter of protected speech but a stain on one’s character that justifies excavating past wrongs to expunge it. An article about Dr. Katz in The American Conservative last year was called “Persecution & Propaganda at Princeton.”
“Is this the world we want to live in, where you express an opinion that other people don’t like, and suddenly your personal life is turned inside out, looking for evidence to destroy you?” Ms. Harris, his lawyer, said.
… A university spokesman said at the time [of the Quillette article] that Princeton would be “looking into the matter,” but no investigation materialized. Dr. Katz celebrated in July 2020 with a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, “I Survived Cancellation at Princeton.”
But with attention focused on Dr. Katz, the student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, began an investigation of sexual harassment accusations against him. It culminated in a lengthy report in February 2021 about his sexual relationship with the undergraduate.
Princeton already knew about her. The university had started an investigation after it learned of the relationship in late 2017, and Dr. Katz confessed to a consensual affair. He was quietly suspended without pay for a year.
So, double jeopardy.
Except, of course, when it comes to women’s complaints against non-woke professors, there is no limit short of the heat death of the universe.