‘Free Speech For Thee, But Not For Me’ – Why Ilya Shapiro Quit Georgetown
Months after being placed on leave at the behest of a woke mob and just days after being reinstated by administrators, Ilya Shapiro resigned from Georgetown on Monday in a scorching resignation letter that laid bare the supposedly prestigious institution’s embrace of woke identity politics. Georgetown and its Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA), Shapiro wrote, “no longer stands for tolerance, respect, good faith, self-reflective learning, and generous service to others.”
“I cannot again subject my family to the public attacks on my character and livelihood that you and IDEAA have now made foreseeable, indeed inevitable,” Shapiro noted.
“As a result of the hostile work environment that you and they have created, I have no choice but to resign.”
As Townhall reported in January, Shapiro – who had been recently hired as executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for the Constitution — tweeted objections to President Joe Biden’s choice of then-Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court.
Shapiro’s legitimate criticisms and questions about why Biden was set on picking a jurist based on their skin color and DNA were quickly attacked by the woke crowd on campus and escalated by administrators who pounced on the opportunity to ding a conservative, no matter how disingenuous the screed.
Students circulated a petition for his firing and the dean of the Georgetown University Law Center sent an all-school email condemning — and mischaracterizing — Shapiro’s objection. Georgetown Law administrators put Shapiro on leave while they investigated the trumped-up charges brought only to appease woke future lawyers who asked “where can we cry?” amid their phony outrage.
Then on Friday, as Townhall reported, Shapiro was reinstated by Georgetown Law administrators following their investigation.
“I’m gratified that I’ll get to do the job for which I was hired more than four months ago,” Shapiro said last week.
“All students in my programs can expect to be accorded the freedom to think and speak freely and to be treated equally: a diversity of ideas will be most welcome.”
But on Monday, Shapiro tendered his resignation in a lengthy letter to Georgetown Law administrators explaining why his “remaining at Georgetown has become untenable” – and it’s a scorcher (full letter below).
“Although I celebrated my ‘technical victory’ in the Wall Street Journal, further analysis shows that you’ve made it impossible for me to fulfill the duties of my appointed post,” Shapiro writes in his letter before outlining the woke nonsense of Georgetown that proved too stifling to allow him to continue:
You cleared me on a jurisdictional technicality, but the IDEAA [Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirming Action] Report—and your own statements to the Law Center community – implicitly repealed Georgetown’s vaunted Speech and Expression Policy and set me up for discipline the next time I transgress progressive orthodoxy.
You told me when we met last week that you want me to be successful in my new role and that you will “have my back.” But instead, you’ve painted a target on my back such that I could never do the job I was hired for, advancing the mission of the Center for the Constitution.
Shapiro also blasted the woke intolerants at Georgetown Law, saying “only those acting in bad faith to get me fired because of my political beliefs would misconstrue what I said to suggest otherwise.”
Flipping the script on the cancel mob, Shapiro then explained that he deleted his “inartful” tweet criticizing Biden’s woke criteria for Supreme Court nominees “well before any student was likely to learn of it” and because “others seeking to harm” Shapiro were the ones who shared screenshots far and wide, “it was they…who intentionally and unknowingly caused any harm to any student who later came to learn of a read their screen captures of the tweet. It is they, not I, who are morally culpable for any such resulting harm,” Shapiro noted.
Shapiro also torched Georgetown’s so-called “anti-harassment policy” that allows a mob — claiming to be offended by an individual’s speech — to constitute a violation of their policy. “Georgetown has adopted what First Amendment jurisprudence describes as an impermissible ‘heckler’s veto,'” Shapiro explained. And he’s right.
Under the theory of Georgetown’s policy, Shapiro explains “all sorts of comments that someone—anyone—could find offensive would subject me to disciplinary action,” and “this would be a huge Sword of Damocles over my head as I try to engage in my educational mission.” Shapiro then illustrates the flaws of Georgetown’s coddling policies with “quite realistic” hypotheticals:
Later this month, I laud Supreme Court decisions that overrule Roe v. Wade and protect the right to carry arms. A campus activist claims that my comments “deny women’s humanity” and makes her feel “unsafe” and “directly threatened with physical violence.”
In August, when I’m meeting with students concerned about my ability to treat everyone fairly, as you’ve asked me to do, one attendee, upon hearing my defense of free speech and equality of opportunity, files a complaint because I am “disingenuous” and the “embodiment of white supremacy.”
In October, when the Court hears arguments in the Harvard/UNC affirmative action cases, I express the opinion that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits racial preferences in college admissions. Hundreds of Georgetown community members sign a letter asserting that my comments “are antithetical to the work that we do here every day to build inclusion, belonging, and respect for diversity” (quoting your statements of January 31 and June 2).
Later this fall, in a class I’m teaching, a student feels uncomfortable with his assigned position in a mock oral argument in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, a case on next term’s docket that considers whether a designer can be compelled to create a website for a same-sex wedding. “To argue that someone can deny 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 denigrating charade,” he writes on the student listserv.
In each of those examples, Shapiro explained, he would be subjected to an investigation and discipline under Georgetown’s nonsensical and anti-free speech policies.
“The freedom to speak unless someone finds what you say offensive or infringing some nebulous conception of equity is no freedom at all,” Shapiro further wrote.
“Your treatment of me—starting with the launch of a sham investigation that apparently could’ve been resolved by looking at a calendar—shows how the University applies even these self-contradicting free speech ‘principles’ in an inconsistent manner, depending on where on the ideological spectrum an ‘offense’ arises,” he added, before pointing out several examples where liberal faculty engaged in partisan speech in which they directly target conservatives and Republicans — but for whom there was no punishment or even an investigation.
As Shapiro write in a WSJ op-ed today, 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.
Shapiro wrote in conclusion that:
“In contrast to the Jesuitical values that you’re fond of reciting, this institution no longer stands for tolerance, respect, good faith, self-reflective learning, and generous service to others.”
Slamming the school’s hypocrisy, Shapiro added that Georgetown Law’s “treatment of me suggests that neither the due process of law nor justice actually prevails,” in contrast to the school’s motto: “Law is but the means, justice is the end.”
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Mon, 06/06/2022 – 13:45