My long public nightmare is over. Tomorrow I will accept my duties as Senior Lecturer at Georgetown University’s Law Center and Executive Director of its Constitutional Center. A four-month investigation by Human Resources and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action found that I wasn’t an employee when I posted a tweet that some at the school objected to (which the Journal reported on). beginning) and were therefore not subject to the relevant guidelines on anti-discrimination and professional conduct.
It was an experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone except perhaps the instigators of the Twitter mob that started this storm – especially the first few days which were really awful for me and my family. Although my administrative leave was paid for, the uncertainty made it a roller coaster of emotions and instability, a personal and professional purgatory. I am grateful to the many allies who have supported my cause. I found out who my friends are, even though I would have preferred not to have to know.
What I achieved was a technical victory, but one that still shows the value of standing up for free speech in the face of cancellation. That is so, even if this speech is clumsy, as I readily admitted, my criticism of President Biden’s decision to cap his Supreme Court pool by race and sex was. While I apologize for my poor wording – some advised “never apologize” but I pride myself on clear communication – I maintain my view that Mr Biden should have considered “all possible nominees” given that 76% of Americans in agreed with an ABC news poll and that the best choice would have been Judge Sri Srinivasan, who is an Indian-American immigrant.
I’m relieved that I can now do the job I was hired for in January. I am confident that I would have prevailed even without the legal formalities. Finally, Georgetown’s Speech and Expression Policy states that the “university is committed to free and open inquiry, deliberation, and debate in all matters, and to the free verbal and non-verbal expression of ideas.” There is of course an exception for harassment, but I have not harassed anyone except possibly Mr. Biden.
In any case, I look forward to teaching and engaging in a variety of activities related to constitutional education and originalism. As befits a constitutional center, all students and participants in my programs can expect to be given the right to think and speak freely and to be treated equally. Diverse ideas are welcome.
Upon my reinstatement, Dean William Treanor emphasized that he was a strong supporter of the center and wants me to be successful. I’m grateful for that, too – and I had actually started to develop a good relationship with the Dean when the Twitter scandal broke.
Mr. Treanor also said that as long as I conduct myself professionally, he will have my back. I’ll hold us both at both ends of this deal. For me, that means muting and blocking malicious Twitter antagonists — some of whom, sadly, are in academia — and resisting the urge to correct everyone who’s wrong on the internet. Not that bad tweets would incite crime, but it would be good practice for all of us to stop late-night doom scrolling and scathing replies to every recent goof from our ruling classes.
On Georgetown’s part, that means fostering robust debate and being as committed to intellectual diversity as any other kind. Across the country, campus cultures have become increasingly hostile, with students coming out to one another (and professors) for ideological transgressions and self-censor to avoid potential trouble. We must reverse this trend.
It’s ironic that I was labeled a racist and misogynist by the illiberal mafia for declining to tweet about hiring people based on race and gender. Regardless, everyone is invited to my events in Georgetown. It’s a new day.
Mr. Shapiro is Executive Director of the Constitutional Center at Georgetown Law and author of Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court.
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https://www.wsj.com/articles/ilya-shapiro-georgetown-twitter-kbj-cancel-law-school-supreme-court-appointee-twitter-free-speech-11654211044 My Cancel-Culture Nightmare Is Over