Paul L. Caron

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Penn Dean Denies Amy Wax's Claim That He Asked Her To Take Leave Due To Controversial Op-Ed

Penn (2017)Following up on Monday's post, Amy Wax (Penn), The Closing Of The Academic Mind:, Penn Law Disputes Prof's Claim She Was Asked to Take Leave Due to Op-Ed:

A professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School claims the school’s dean recently asked her to take a leave of absence after she published a controversial op-ed last year, but the school says the dean was merely discussing a routine sabbatical with her.

Amy Wax alleges in a new Wall Street Journal op-ed published Feb. 16 about free speech on campus that Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger asked her to stop teaching required first-year courses in addition to taking a leave of absence after her first op-ed created a firestorm. Wax offered the request as an example of how college campuses pay lip service to free speech and free inquiry when in reality those who espouse views that are not politically correct face personal attacks rather than reasoned debate.

The law school on Tuesday disputed Wax’s characterization of events, saying that Ruger’s conversation with Wax was not in response to her op-ed, but a routine discussion about her taking a sabbatical.

“Mentioned in her recent op-ed was a discussion with the dean about the timing of a regularly-accrued sabbatical, a discussion the dean has with many faculty members each year, as every tenured faculty member enjoys a sabbatical benefit, with full pay,” said Penn Law spokesman Steve Barnes on Tuesday. ...

What’s not in dispute is that the original op-ed, published on Aug. 9, led to a backlash against Wax and co-author Larry Alexander, a professor at the University of San Diego Law School.  Critics charged that their op-ed, published in August in The Philadelphia Inquirer under the title “Paying the Price for the Breakdown of the Country’s Bourgeois Culture,” was racist. (Alexander said on Tuesday that some students raised objections at the time, but that he has faced no official repercussions at San Diego.)

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Was this law school dean so politically clueless, he didn't realize that he had to be exceedingly careful to make sure their discussion centered on a routine sabbatical rather than academic punishment? I suspect not. He wanted that 'edge' to their conversation to be there and has now been exposed.

Posted by: Michael W. Perry | Feb 21, 2018 5:24:33 PM