I came to the exactly same conclusion as the author of this New Republic. This was way less about possible political correctness and more about the actions of the faculty member. It’s hard not to talk about your students, but it’s doubly important in how you criticize them in public.
There have been layers to this debate, but this is the major point from this piece.
The problem comes from the fact that Abbate was a student at his university. Professors should never even risk sparking viral outrage against students. What’s especially troubling is that he insulted not just Abbate’s ideas, or her behavior in some general sense, but her academic performance. If he were for whatever reason privy to her transcript, would we defend his free-speech right to blog about its contents?