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Ilya Shapiro resigned from his position at Georgetown University Law Center on Monday morning after being reinstated on a technicality.
“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,” he wrote in a letter to Dean William M. Treanor.
Shapiro was investigated before he planned to start at the university as an executive director and senior lecturer over a tweet regarding President Joe Biden’s possible Supreme Court picks, the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education reported. He was brought back because the investigation determined it was tweeted before he began working there.
“Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasa, who is solid [progressive] and [very] smart,” he tweeted. “He even has identity politics benefit of being first Asian (Indian) American. But alas doesn’t fit into latest intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman. Thank heaven for small favors?”
In addition, Shapiro tweeted a poll asking if Biden was racist and or sexist and noting that if the president nominated someone on the basis of their race and gender, they’ll “always have an asterisk attached.”
The letter outlined specific issues surrounding his reinstatement, including how Georgetown’s Institutional Diversity, Equity & Affirmative Action report on the situation and the potential enforcement of strict speech rules would set him up for a “hostile” environment. He even cited politically charged tweets from other professors at the school, in order to show an “inconsistent manner” in how Georgetown investigates.
“[U]nder the reasoning of the IDEAA Report, none of this objective textual analysis even matters. As the report put it, ‘The University’s anti-harassment policy does not require that a respondent intend to denigrate or show hostility or aversion to individuals based on a protected status. Instead, the Policy requires consideration of the ‘purpose or effect’ of a respondent’s conduct.’ According to this theory, the mere fact that many people were offended, or claimed to be, is enough for me to have violated the policies under which I was being investigated.
“Ironically, it is you and IDEAA who have created an unacceptably hostile work environment for me on account of my political views and affiliations.”
Shapiro’s pithy resignation letter sends an unmistakable message to the academic world, although it will unfortunately not be internalized by those who need to understand it the most.