Why I Quit Georgetown – WSJ

After a four-month investigation into a tweet, the Georgetown University Law Center reinstated me last Thursday. But after carefully examining the report I received later that afternoon from the Office for Institutional Diversity, Justice and Affirmative Action, or IDEAA, and consulting with attorneys and trusted advisors, I concluded that staying in my job was untenable .

Dean William Treanor technically absolved me of not being an employee when I tweeted, but IDEAA implicitly overturned Georgetown’s speech and expression policy and gave me disciplinary action the next time I violate progressive orthodoxy. Instead of participating in this slow motion shot, I step back.

IDEAA specifically noted that my tweet criticizing President Biden for limiting his Supreme Court pool by race and gender required “appropriate corrective action” to address my “objectively objectionable comments” and the repetition of prevent objectionable behavior based on race, sex and gender. Mr. Treanor reiterated these concerns in a June 2 statement, further noting the “harmful” nature of my tweets.

But IDEAA makes it clear that their standard is not objective: “The university’s anti-harassment policy does not require that a respondent intend to defame them,” says the report. “Instead, the policy requires consideration of the ‘purpose or effect’ of a respondent’s behavior.” That people were offended or claimed to be was enough for me to have broken the rules.

IDEAA claims that if I “made a different, similar, or more serious comment as a Georgetown employee, it would likely create a hostile environment based on race, sex, and gender.” Any comments that anyone might find offensive would be subject to discipline. Consider the following hypotheses:

• I applaud Supreme Court decisions that overrule one another Roe v. calf and to protect the right to bear arms. One activist claims my comments “deny the humanity of women” and make her feel “unsafe” and “imminently threatened with physical violence.”

• After meeting with students who are concerned about my ability to treat everyone fairly, as Mr. Treanor has asked of me, one participant files a complaint, calling me “dishonest” and called the “embodiment of white supremacy”.

• When the Supreme Court hears the Harvard and University of North Carolina cases this fall, I believe the Constitution prohibits racial preferences. Hundreds of Georgetown stakeholders sign a letter claiming that my comments “contradict the work we do here every day to build inclusion, belonging and respect for diversity” (according to Mr. Treanor’s statements dated March 31, 2009). January and June 2 ).

• In a class I teach, a student is uncomfortable with his assigned position in a sham mouthing 303 Creative v. Elenis, a case examining whether a designer can be forced to create a website for a same-sex wedding. “To argue that someone can refuse service to members of the LGBTQIA+ community is to treat our brothers and sisters as second-class citizens, and I will not participate in Shapiro’s disparaging charade,” he writes on student listserv.

I could go on, but you get the idea. It is the Georgetown administrators who have created a hostile work environment for me.

What Mr. Treanor has done – what he has allowed IDEAA to do – is essentially rescinding the speech and expression policy he is said to hold dear. Freedom of speech is not freedom at all if it makes an exception for speech that someone finds offensive or violates a nebulous notion of justice.

Georgetown’s treatment of me shows how the university itself applies these conflicting “principles” inconsistently by ideology. Compare my case with these recent examples:

• In 2018, during Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, Professor Carol Christine Fair of the School of Foreign Service tweeted: “Look at this chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s presumptuous eligibility. They all deserve a miserable death while feminists laugh as they breathe their last. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to pigs? Yes.” Georgetown deemed this a proprietary speech.

• In 2020, Prof. Heidi Feldblum of the Law Center tweeted that “law professors and deans of law schools” “should not support applications from our students to serve as clerks for” President Trump-appointed judges. “Working for such a judge,” continued Ms. Feldblum, “indelibly shows a lawyer that he lacks the character and judgment required to practice the law.” These comments could threaten the careers of all conservative and libertarian students , or anyone who works for duly confirmed but unpopular judges. But Georgetown did nothing.

• In April of this year—months after my tweet—Ms. Feldblum tweeted: “We only have one political party in this country, the Democrats. The other group is a combination of a cult and an insurgency-supporting crime syndicate.” She continued, “The only ethically and politically responsible attitude towards the Republican ‘party’ is to consistently state that it is not a legitimate participant in the constitutional democracy of the USA is more.” Unlike me, Ms. Feldblum teaches required courses to freshman law students. This pattern of remarks created a hostile educational environment for Republican students – a protected class under the District of Columbia’s antidiscrimination law. The tweets were quietly deleted with no apology or disciplinary action.

• Last month, law professor Josh Chafetz tweeted: “The ‘Protest at the Supreme Court, not at the judges’ houses’ would be more compelling if the court hadn’t erected fences this week to prevent protesters from getting near it. He added, “If the mob is right, some (but not all!) more aggressive tactics are warranted.” He later invited “people” to “snitch tag @GeorgetownLaw” and taunted the school for “me wouldn’t fire you for a tweet you don’t like.”

Mr. Chafetz was certainly right about that last point. Apparently it’s free speech for you, not for me.

It is all well and good to institute strict free speech policies, but it is not enough if the university administration is unwilling to stand up to those who call for censorship. And the problem is not limited to cowardly administrators. Sprawling IDEAA-style bureaus enforce an orthodoxy that stifles intellectual diversity, undermines equal opportunity, and excludes dissenting voices. Even the dean of an elite law school opposes these bureaucrats at his peril.

What Georgetown gave me, what it would have given me had I stayed, is a heckler’s veto leading to a star chamber. “Don’t live on lies,” warned Aleksander Solzhenitsyn. “Let the lie come into the world, even let it triumph. But not by me.”

I will not live like this.

Mr. Shapiro is a former executive director of Georgetown Law’s Center for the Constitution and the author of Supreme Disorder: Judicial Nominations and the Politics of America’s Highest Court.

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-i-quit-georgetown-11654479763 Why I Quit Georgetown – WSJ

Alley Einstein

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