Earlier this week, one of the more ridiculous episodes of academic cancel culture finally reached a conclusion. Libertarian legal scholar Ilya Shapiro resigned as director of Georgetown Law’s Center for the Constitution, after he was cleared of having violated university policies for a tweet sent before his employment began.
Confused? Let’s review what happened.
On January 26th, Shapiro – an expert on the U.S. Supreme Court – opined on Twitter regarding Biden’s pledge that he would nominate “the first Black woman” to serve on the Supreme Court. “Objectively best pick for Biden is Sri Srinivasan,” Shapiro noted, “but alas doesn’t fit into latest intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman.”
Shapiro was immediately denounced as “racist” by people who disingenuously accused him of implying that black people are “lesser” – when what he obviously meant is that whichever black woman Biden nominated would be “lesser” than Srinivasan (whom he regarded as the “best pick”). Shapiro soon apologised and deleted the tweet, acknowledging it was “inartful”.
That was five days before he was due to start a new job at Georgetown Law. Unfortunately for Shapiro, his apology did not satisfy the mob. Various student organisations demanded his appointment be rescinded, and the law school’s Dean labelled his tweet “appalling”. An ‘investigation’ was soon launched.
The ‘investigation’ lasted four months. In other words, it took them four months to figure out whether Shapiro’s tweet, which had been sent five days before his appointment began, violated university policies. As he himself later noted, they could have just checked a calendar.
In any case, Shapiro was cleared of having violated university policies (although what the Dean actually said was that the “Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Affirmative Action” had “made no determination” because “you were a third party and not an employee at the time you posted the comments”). Despite this, Shapiro understandably resigned. Would you want to work in that den of vipers?
Explaining his decision, Shapiro said the Dean had “painted a target on my back such that I could never do the job I was hired for”. He also pointed to several examples where leftist Georgetown Law professors had sent far more incendiary tweets without being ‘investigated’. For example, one had written that “entitled white men” defending Justice Kavanaugh “deserve miserable deaths”.
Incidentally, this isn’t the first time Georgetown Law has caved to the mob after someone made a supposedly racist comment.
Last year, one professor was fired and another ‘resigned’ when a private conversation of theirs was leaked online. In the footage, Sandra Sellers says, “You know what? I hate to say this. I end up having this angst every semester that a lot of my lower ones are blacks.” Her colleague David Batson appears to nod in agreement.
The very same Dean who labelled Shapiro’s tweet “appalling” described the footage of Sellers and Batson as “abhorrent”. I wonder how he’d react to actual racism.
At Georgetown Law, you’re allowed to fantasise about your opponents suffering “miserable deaths” as long as they’re “entitled white men”. But if you say anything that offends the woke mob (however unintentionally), you’ll be dragged through an ‘investigation’ and left with a target on your back – that’s if you aren’t fired immediately.