Ilya Shapiro resigns as the woke mob sets him up for dismissal.
by The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, June 6, 2022
Optimists have opined that America has reached “peak woke” as a backlash against it grows. Think again, as the experience of Ilya Shapiro demonstrates.
Nearby Mr. Shapiro describes his treatment at the hands of Georgetown University Law School, which had hired him to be the executive director of its Constitution Center. Mr. Shapiro is a libertarian-minded legal scholar who sometimes writes for these pages. Georgetown, like most law schools, is dominated by progressives, often of the intolerant and vindictive variety.
But Mr. Shapiro was encouraged by dean William Treanor and the school’s Speech and Expression Policy, which promises to defend dissenting voices on campus. His painful education has been discovering that some speech is more protected than others.
In late January, shortly before he was supposed to start at Georgetown, Mr. Shapiro posted a tweet criticizing President Biden for his promise to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court. The tweet said Sri Srinivasan, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, would be the “best pick” but we were likely to get a “lesser black woman.”
Mr. Shapiro took down the tweet and apologized for his “inartful” language, but the campus left erupted and pressured Mr. Treanor to withdraw the job offer. Mr. Treanor suspended Mr. Shapiro, pending an investigation, which somehow took four months. The dean reinstated Mr. Shapiro last week on grounds that he wasn’t a Georgetown employee at the time of the tweet, which could have been decided in four minutes.
After Mr. Shapiro read the 10-page report by the school’s Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action, he decided he was being set up to be fired the next time anyone on campus objected to something he said or did. If a student or professor claimed to be offended by a statement, it would immediately trigger another investigation. Mr. Treanor had effectively repealed the school’s Speech and Expression Policy for Mr. Shapiro.
This isn’t the way Mr. Treanor has handled offensive speech on the left. Last month professor Josh Chafetz tweeted support for demonstrating at the home of Supreme Court Justices: “When the mob is right, some (but not all!) more aggressive tactics are justified.” He also boasted that the law school was “not going to fire” him over a tweet.
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.