ACLS Statement: September 2, 2022
In February 2020, the American Council of Learned Societies asked Dr. Joshua Katz to serve as a delegate to the Union Académique Internationale (“UAI”). This role involved assisting ACLS in hosting the biannual international meeting scheduled for Fall 2021, where ACLS planned discussions of inequality, racism, and justice in academia, comparing conditions and responses across countries. Although Dr. Katz’s term as a delegate began on July 1, 2020, the announcement of his appointment and the meeting were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the interim, Dr. Katz published an article and follow-up statement that described his strong personal interpretation of various issues surrounding race at Princeton University and that drew a great deal of attention on social media and elsewhere. ACLS recognizes that it is the right and responsibility of all scholars to engage publicly and freely on the issues that matter most to them, and to demonstrate that commitment has made a donation to the National Constitution Center in recognition of that organization’s achievements in advocating for free speech. However, Dr. Katz’s emergence as a public figure in this area created a risk that Dr. Katz’s individual stance would become a topic of debate at the biannual meeting and that ACLS and its member societies would be brought into disputes that were not theirs. For these reasons, ACLS replaced Dr. Katz as its delegate to the UAI on September 14, 2020.