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Prof. Jonathan Katz, of Washington University

Steve Sailer’s iSteve Blog

I’ve written about him once. That was in 2002. Washington University had decreed that reporters needed official permission to conduct an interview on campus. According to the new guidelines, a reporter who wanted to conduct an interview on campus was required to notify the Public Affairs office, and a person from that office would have the right to monitor the interview.

So Katz called and asked if I wanted to break the rules. Of course, I said. I went to his office and interviewed him. He wanted to talk about his bosses.

“They’re control freaks,” he said. “This kind of policy is something you’d expect from a corporation. I have nothing against corporations, but a university is a fundamentally different thing.”

He dismissed the notion of a closed campus.

“A university is a small town with public spaces open to all. There is supposed to be a free flow of ideas and people. If you don’t have those things, you don’t have a real university. I’ve done a fair amount of consulting for the defense industry, and I’ve seen more freedom of thought, freedom to disagree, in the defense establishment than I see here.”

By the way, the door to his office was decorated with an American flag. That’s unusual in the physics department.

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