The three alumni who have commented unfavorably about Professor Katz’s dismissal base their dismay on the timing of the dismissal, the intervention of the female student whose revival of the case may seem providential for the Trustees and the University president, and the fact that Professor Katz has some politically incorrect views on some University policies involving race.
I have no information about all this but would like to express one belief I have from my experience from almost 40 years of university teaching and research. Political views of professors, which may include hot topics like gender, race, and religion, are protected by tenure and academic freedom — at least when these views are legitimately part of one’s field in teaching and research. If they are just casual feelings and beliefs which have nothing to do with the courses at hand they might well be unprotected, but non-professors also have rights to their opinions and professors retain the same civil rights as non-professors. It would not, based on my experience, be unknown that politically incorrect views could be the cause of negative actions against an individual, especially one who had some past history of making life difficult for university administrators.
Thus I read with sympathy the three alumni comments and leave the topic with less than great conviction that justice has been done.