After a four-month investigation into a tweet, the Georgetown University Law Center reinstated me last Thursday. But after full consideration of the report I received later that afternoon from the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action, or IDEAA, and on consultation with counsel and trusted advisers, I concluded that remaining in my job was untenable.
Dean William Treanor cleared me on the technicality that I wasn’t an employee when I tweeted, but the IDEAA implicitly repealed Georgetown’s Speech and Expression Policy and set me up for discipline the next time I transgress progressive orthodoxy. Instead of participating in that slow-motion firing, I’m resigning.
IDEAA speciously found that my tweet criticizing President Biden for limiting his Supreme Court pool by race and sex required “appropriate corrective measures” to address my “objectively offensive comments and to prevent the recurrence of offensive conduct based on race, gender, and sex.” Mr. Treanor reiterated these concerns in a June 2 statement, further noting the “harmful” nature of my tweets.
But IDEAA makes clear there is nothing objective about its standard: “The University’s anti-harassment policy does not require that a respondent intend to denigrate,” the report says. “Instead, the Policy requires consideration of the ‘purpose or effect’ of a respondent’s conduct.” That people were offended, or claim to have been, is enough for me to have broken the rules.
Fundamentally, what Mr. Treanor has done—what he’s allowed IDEAA to do—is repeal the Speech and Expression Policy that he claims to hold dear. The freedom to speak is no freedom at all if it makes an exception for speech someone finds offensive or counter to some nebulous conception of equity.
Georgetown’s treatment of me shows how the university applies even these self-contradicting “principles” inconsistently depending on ideology. Contrast my case with these recent examples:
• In 2018, Prof. Carol Christine Fair of the School of Foreign Service tweeted during Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process: “Look at this chorus of entitled white men justifying a serial rapist’s arrogated entitlement. All of them deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to swine? Yes.” Georgetown held this to be protected speech.
The episode underscores again that American academia is dominated by the censoring left. Mr. Treanor has shown himself to be a weak man who bends to the mob. When the left-wing mob won’t tolerate a thoughtful scholar like Mr. Shapiro, it shouldn’t be surprised if the response becomes a right-wing mob.
Jeff Jacoby writes wisely. A slice:
Countless Americans have lost an essential component of citizenship: the ability to grant that their opponents are sincere and that at least some of their claims are not easily dismissed. Even if you are unwaveringly pro-life and regard abortion as a tragic act of violence, you should be able to recognize that to a woman who is in the first stages of pregnancy and desperate to avoid the turmoil, pain, expense, or trauma of bearing an unwanted child, the right to an abortion is a fundamental matter of liberty and bodily autonomy. Even if you are a fierce defender of Roe v. Wade and have always believed that abortion rights are indispensable, you should be able to concede the threshold scientific truth that a fetus at 12 weeks is unmistakably human, alive, and vulnerable.
“The truth is that the best argument on each side is a damn good one, and until you acknowledge that fact, you aren’t speaking or even thinking honestly about the issue,” wrote Caitlin Flanagan in a powerful essay in The Atlantic in 2019. “You certainly aren’t going to convince anybody.”
The real cost of Chinese policy, however, became evident with the PRC’s attempt to maintain a zero-COVID policy as the Omicron variant swept the globe. The plight of Shanghai, China’s economic engine and home to nearly 29 million people, has been in the news of late. The Chinese were long used to authoritarian social controls, but popular anger exploded at the imposition of brutal totalitarian restrictions. The authorities locked people in their apartments, broke down doors to remove residents, tossed Chinese into overcrowded quarantine facilities, denied people access to non-COVID medical care, left residents without food, and killed family pets. The city is finally emerging from a two-month lockdown, slowly. Reported Reuters: “the authorities have been allowing more people out of their homes and more businesses to reopen over the past week. But most residents remain confined to their compounds and most shops can only do deliveries.”
Testing labs in the U.S. have been earning windfall profits as a direct consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Using tax data from Hawaii, we found that statewide growth in private diagnostic labs’ monthly revenue tracked the volume of Covid-19 PCR tests in lockstep. Between May and December 2020, lab revenue grew at an average of 8% a month. Labs are making more than $10 a test in profit.
Why are these profits possible? The American healthcare system let labs set prices for Covid-19 tests well above their costs, costing taxpayers and private insurance companies dearly, for three reasons.
Researchers find that children suffered “significant anxiety and depression during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic,” according to a May 2021 article in Pediatric Clinics of North America. “Social isolation, loneliness, lack of physical exercise, and family stress may contribute to these problems.”
Battles over closures, masks, and bungled remote learning poisoned families’ relations with school administrators. New York City schools still require masks on younger children despite protests. Other public schools used the pandemic to impose surveillance states.
The U.S. Department of Justice’s appeal of a judge’s ruling against the federal mask mandate on public transportation illustrates why the House of Representatives needs to join the Senate and vote to permanently end the mandate. It made little sense before, and it makes even less sense now.
From the epicenter of COVID theater, Berkeley reinstates mask mandate for schools only, while Alameda county reinstates mask mandate for everyplace “except schools” (but includes summer school/camps), despite falling case rates.
This is what it looks like when public health wants to “just do something” to fight rising cases.
No science, no cohesion. Just strange rules which are transparently foolish and ineffective.