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Princeton University board votes to fire tenured professor over sexual misconduct investigation

The Princeton University board of trustees voted to oust tenured professor Josh Katz over withholding information in the investigation of sexual misconduct allegations against him.

Katz was accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a student in the late 2000s after he made inflammatory statements about the school’s reaction to the killing of George Floyd in 2020.

At the time, Katz published an essay that opposed several recommendations from fellow Princeton faculty to combat racism at the school and beyond. The essay became a political talking point. In 2021 the allegations of his relationship with a student resurfaced.

Katz had previously admitted to having a relationship with a student but after the individual provided the board with new information, the new investigation was launched. The former student alleged Katz had discouraged her from participating in the first investigation and had also steered her away from seeking counseling from the school in case anyone found out about his misconduct. Both, according to Princeton, are a violation of school policy.

After the investigation wrapped, the board voted this week to fire Katz over his allegedly withholding information from the board’s investigators. Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber and faculty dean Gene A. Jarrett both recommended Katz be terminated in spite of his tenure, and the board voted along with them. 

Katz’s attorney, Samantha Harris, said in a statement after the board’s vote that the firing is politically motivated. “Princeton is going to say this had nothing to do with his political speech and this was a completely new investigation,” Harris said. “But I don’t think there is a person out there who genuinely doubts that if Professor Katz had not published his article in 2020 that he would be employed by Princeton.”

It is unclear whether Katz will pursue any legal action over his firing.

ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: WALL STREET JOURNAL

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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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