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Georgetown Law Places Administrator on Leave After Tweets

February 1, 2022

Georgetown Law School has placed incoming administrator Ilya Shapiro on administrative leave, pending an investigation into whether he violated the university’s antidiscrimination policy with disparaging tweets about President Biden’s intention to name a Black woman to the Supreme Court, The Washington Post reported.

The Georgetown Black Law Student Association called for Shapiro’s termination last week after he tweeted that his preferred nominee, D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan, “doesn't fit into the latest intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get lesser black woman.”

Shapiro also said that if Biden does choose a Black woman, “his nominee will always have an asterisk attached.”

In an email to the law school community, William M. Treanor, dean and executive vice president of the Georgetown University Law Center, wrote that he placed Shapiro on administrative leave “pending an investigation into whether he violated our policies and expectations on professional conduct, non-discrimination, and anti-harassment, the results of which will inform our next steps.”

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education wrote in a statement that it “strongly condemns Georgetown Law’s suspension and investigation of Ilya Shapiro for tweets about potential replacements for Justice Breyer that some found offensive … Dean William Treanor has made the wrong decision in authorizing this witch hunt, and every day that it continues is an affront to free speech and fairness at Georgetown.”

Shapiro told the Post that he expects to be vindicated. “I’m optimistic that Georgetown’s investigation will be fair, impartial, and professional, though there’s really not much to investigate,” he wrote in an email. “And I’m confident that it will reach the only reasonable conclusion: my Tweet didn’t violate any university rule or policy, and indeed is protected by Georgetown policies on free expression.”

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Susan H. Greenberg

Susan H. Greenberg is a senior editor at Inside Higher Ed. A career journalist and educator, she joined the publication in August 2021 after eight years in Vermont, where she freelanced and taught writing at Middlebury College and Champlain College. Prior to that, she spent 22 years writing and editing for Newsweek magazine, where she covered everything from international affairs to arts and culture. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic, and River Teeth, among others. She has taught English and journalism at Phillips Academy, where she served as an advisor to the student newspaper. She holds a B.A. in English from Brown University and an M.S. in journalism from Columbia. The mother of three nearly adult children, she is very much enjoying her newly empty nest.

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