Ilya Shapiro resigns from Georgetown following reinstatement after 122-day investigation of tweets

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports:

After a more than four-month investigation that led to his reinstatement last week, Ilya Shapiro resigned today from Georgetown University Law Center.

On June 2, Shapiro was reinstated as senior lecturer and executive director for the Georgetown Center for the Constitution after a 122-day investigation — which began before Shapiro started his first day on the job. Georgetown investigated Shapiro after he tweeted that Sri Srinivasan, chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, would be President Biden’s “best pick” for the Supreme Court. He continued: “But alas [Srinivasan] doesn’t fit into latest intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman.” Shapiro’s “lesser black woman” phrasing gained considerable attention on Twitter and within the Georgetown community, and led Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor to denounce the tweet as “appalling” and “at odds with everything we stand for at Georgetown Law.”

Although Georgetown was correct to reinstate Shapiro, its initiation of an investigation transgressed its purported commitment to “the untrammeled expression of ideas and information.” Investigations of protected speech produce a chilling effect. Moreover, Georgetown, in its stated justification for reinstating Shapiro, made little effort to defend these principles, making clear that it is not interested in protecting the expressive rights of faculty and students with dissenting viewpoints. For this reason and more, Shapiro’s decision to resign from Georgetown is readily understandable — indeed, his resignation letter is mandatory reading for anyone interested in FIRE’s issues.