Ilya Shapiro announced his resignation from his position as the executive director for the Georgetown Law Center’s (GULC) Center for the Constitution on Monday, June 6.
Shapiro was placed on administrative leave for posting a series of now-deleted racist tweets criticizing President Joe Biden’s promise to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court in January. Following an internal investigation, Shapiro was reinstated to his position on June 2. He initially accepted the role, which he announced in a tweet; however, he withdrew that acceptance and resigned from his position at GULC on Monday.
“Here’s my resignation letter from @GeorgetownLaw, a place that doesn’t value free speech. In the name of [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion], it stifles intellectual diversity, undermines equal opportunity, and excludes dissenting voices,” Shapiro tweeted, along with screenshots of his letter of resignation. He has since published an opinion in the Wall Street Journal justifying his resignation.
Shapiro’s letter of resignation criticized the report from the Office of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Affirmative Action (IDEAA). The IDEAA investigation concluded that Shapiro’s leave would end and that he could resume work with the Center for the Constitution. According to a letter from GULC Dean Treanor, the report cleared Shapiro because he had tweeted the remarks several days before the start of his employment at the law center on Feb. 1.
“Your treatment of me… shows how the university applies even these self-contradicting free speech “principles” in an inconsistent manner, depending on where on the ideological spectrum an ‘offense’ arises,” Shapiro wrote in his letter of resignation, pointing out instances where other, more ideologically left-leaning professors had not been investigated for their comments.
In response to Biden’s announcement of his intention to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court, Shapiro tweeted on Jan. 26, “Because Biden said he’s only consider [sic] black women for SCOTUS, his nominee will always have an asterisk attached. Fitting that the Court takes up affirmative action next term.” Another tweet said that whoever would be Biden’s choice would inevitably be a “lesser black woman.”
In response to pushback, Shapiro later issued a now-deleted apology for the racist comments.
Shapiro is still listed as executive director of Georgetown’s Center for the Constitution and the Center for the Constitution continues to feature an opinion defending Shapiro’s tweets on its homepage. While some professors nationwide have rallied in support of Shapiro, others have criticized his continuing to teach at GULC.
“Allowing Shapiro to teach would force Black women—and other Black students and other women—to make the kind of wretched choice no student should have to make: accept that one of their school’s courses is off limits to them because of credible evidence the instructor is prejudiced, or enroll and serve as test cases for whether Shapiro’s claims to the contrary are correct,” Paul Butler, the Albert Brick professor in law at GULC, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.
The GULC Black Law Students Association also criticized the decision to rehire Shapiro in a statement posted on Instagram on Friday. The post pointed out that the report was released at a time when most students would not be on campus and called on GULC to terminate Shapiro’s employment and implement mandatory implicit bias training, among other demands.
“We recognize the integrity and value of freedom of speech in academic environments. However, freedom of speech does not equate to freedom from consequences, especially from speech rooted in racism and bias,” the statement reads. As of Tuesday, BLSA has not issued a statement regarding Shapiro’s resignation.
While Treanor published a statement on Thursday regarding Shapiro’s reinstatement, GULC has not released a statement regarding his resignation as of June 7.