Georgetown University Law Dean William Treanor has suspended Ilya Shapiro—a conservative-libertarian legal scholar slated to take the helm of the school’s Center for the Constitution—pending an investigation into controversial statements he made on Twitter.
Treanor stated Monday that he had placed Ilya Sharpiro on administrative leave. This was in anticipation of an investigation to determine if he has violated policies on professional conduct and non-discrimination. The results will help us decide our next steps.
Shapiro repeatedly apologized to the public for his tweets. Some people thought the former vice president of Cato Institute, Joe Biden had incorrectly referred to black women as being less qualified than the Supreme Court. Instead, he decried the stated pledge of President Joe Biden to choose Justice Stephen Breyer’s replacement from a certain race and gender pool, as it would prohibit him from selecting Court of Appeals judge Sri Srinivasan (who Shapiro thinks is the best candidate).
Shapiro said, “I believe Georgetown’s investigation is fair, impartial and professional.” said in a statement.
Georgetown’s Black Law Student Association doesn’t agree. On Tuesday morning, student protestors held a sit in at the Law Center. Treanor was present and was interrogated by students. They want Shapiro to be fired, and possibly the elimination of the whole center.
National Review Noting that some students want to be allowed to cry, it is important that this facility is available.
A student demanded the dean’s cover for classes the protestors had missed due to the sit-in. He suggested the “reparations” package be given black students. After expressing her concern, she demanded that all students receive a safe place to cry on campus. Is there an office that they could go to? She asked. She asked. We’re getting to a place where students want to use the restroom to weep.
She said, “And that is not the future.” “This is now.”
Administrators took law student’s question seriously. Dean Bailin informed her, “It’s really, really difficult to walk out from class or a meeting crying, so you should always be able to go somewhere on campus.” “And if you’re finding that you’re not getting the person that you want to talk to or not getting the space that you need, reach out to me Anytime — anytime — and we will find you space.”
Treanor might be tempted to fire Shapiro if he is experiencing such strong emotions. It’s not easy for students to speak out on issues like this. Nevertheless, retaining Shapiro would be the right move—indeed, Georgetown’s stated commitments to free speech preclude any other outcome.
More than 100 law professors have signed an open letter calling on Georgetown to abide by its principles and end the investigation in a manner favorable to Shapiro.
The authors write, “Academic freedom defends Shapiro’s opinions, regardless of whether or not we agree with them.” “And debate about the President’s nomination, and about whether race and sex play a proper role in such nominations more generally, would be impoverished—at Georgetown and elsewhere—if this view could not be safely expressed in universities. Even if people believe it is appropriate for Presidents to offer to fill positions with members of particular groups, they cannot be sure that they will have any confidence in their conclusion. They must also know that opposing views can be supported freely and debated, and that they are not silenced out of fear of being fired. This is how science academic discourse operates. It is also true of moral and political judgements.
Georgetown’s probe into Shapiro by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education was described rightly by The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, as an “embarrassing surrender” that is “antithetical and contrary to the principles of liberal education. Georgetown should end this investigation immediately and reinstate Shapiro to allow everyone to move forward.