Fire Professor Jonathan Katz

Fire Professor Jonathan Katz

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Student Union started this petition to Washington University in St. Louis

Professor Jonathan Katz has written about how he is a “proud homophobe,” implied women may be “less talented” in physics than men, and argued that the Bell Curve is a plausible theory of intelligence. His “academic exercises” don’t force us to think more deeply about global problems — they degrade, dehumanize, and attack students at Washington University in St. Louis.

Washington University must re-consider Professor Katz's tenure, which he has held since 1978. His countless offensive statements have led to complaints through university course feedback forms, and sparked deep discomfort amongst students who hold the marginalized identities that he attacks. His continued employment at Washington University directly contradicts our community values, and it's important that his employment is terminated.

Professor Katz's action is antithetical to:

  1. The Washington University mission statement, which seeks “to welcome students, faculty and staff from all backgrounds to create an inclusive community that is welcoming, nurturing and intellectually rigorous," and "to attract people of great ability from diverse backgrounds" and "provide an exemplary, respectful and responsive environment for living, teaching, learning and working for present and future generations."
    1. Explicitly homophobic, racist, and sexist statements exclude members of our community and creates a less inclusive Washington University for all students. 
  2. The rights of students enumerated under the Students section of the Tenure protocol of the university, who are “entitled to an atmosphere conducive to learning and to even-handed treatment in all aspects of the teacher-student relationship.”
    1. He has claimed that ““Learning disabilities” are another example of denying reality,” implied in Student Life that women are “less talented” at physics than men, and claimed that “the diversity movement is racist at its core.”
  3. Expressed factually incorrect statements that violate the academic integrity of Washington University, such as claiming that “there is no evidence that global warming will lead to increasing droughts or tropical storms”

We are calling on Professor Katz to resign his position as a professor, and if he chooses not to, for the Washington University administration to begin a thorough investigation into revoking his tenured status and terminating his employment.


If you are a student who has previously taken a course with Professor Katz and experienced discrimination or bias, please fill out this form: https://forms.gle/fQ57Lb48nRiaCWD1A (only those involved in this petition will see results and reach out to determine your comfort with sharing such stories) or email Dean Jennifer Smith at jensmith@wustl.edu.

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