Following up on my previous post, Wall Street Journal op-ed, University of Pennsylvania Trustee and Penn Law Overseer Resigns Over Treatment Of Amy Wax: The Daily Signal op-ed: Why I Resigned in Protest When a Conservative Professor Was Punished, by Paul Levy:
In 2018, I resigned as a trustee of the University of Pennsylvania and an overseer of its law school to protest the shameful treatment of law professor Amy Wax.
Her sin, in the eyes of her detractors, was to question the wisdom of racial preference policies that brought to the law school, in her estimation, black students who did not rise to the top half of the class.
Her challenge to campus orthodoxy led to a firestorm. ...
In 1967, the University of Chicago’s widely respected Kalven Committee—which was assembled to explore the university’s role in political action—warned:
There is no mechanism by which [the university] can reach a collective position without inhibiting that full freedom of dissent on which it thrives. … The neutrality of the university … arises out of respect for free inquiry and the obligation to cherish a diversity of viewpoints. ...
I now look upon a once-beloved campus and see oppression the likes of which I did not think possible.
Penn Law talks the talk, but can it walk the walk?
Penn Law now faces a choice between the easy world of groupthink, cliché, and smug campus orthodoxies, or the challenging world of intellectual engagement and debate that leads to truth and understanding. ...
Groupthink is an equal-opportunity disease. If we don’t want to emulate places like Princeton, the University of Chicago, Columbia, and Purdue, which endorsed the University of Chicago’s principles of freedom of expression and live by them, who, exactly, do we want to be? ...
It doesn’t matter whether repression comes from the left or right. It has the same corrosive effect on minds and hearts. Will Penn Law one day earn the kind of press that Falwell got from The Washington Post: “Inside Liberty University’s ‘culture of fear’”? As Wax experienced, we are closer to that at Penn Law than some may think.
Penn Law is at an ethical crossroads. It must immediately offer a sincere apology to Wax, lift the sanctions imposed on her by Ruger, and once again give first-year law students the benefit of her superb teaching and scholarship.
Otherwise, it’s on the easy path of political correctness, with all of its authoritarianism. It won’t be long before Penn Law will be not the peer of Princeton, but merely the progressive twin of Liberty University.
In the past, my wife and I have proudly donated over $10 million to an alma mater we love. We urge Penn Law’s leadership to remove the stain that now rests upon the university.
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- Amy Wax & Larry Alexander: Paying The Price For Breakdown Of The Country's Bourgeois Culture (Aug. 13, 2017)
- Reaction To Law Profs' Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' (Aug. 25, 2017)
- Penn Law Students Try To Ban Amy Wax From Teaching Civil Procedure Due To Her Breakdown Of The Bourgeois Culture Op-Ed (Sept. 10, 2017)
- Controversy Over Law Profs' Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' Shifts From Penn To San Diego (Sept. 21, 2017)
- More Law Prof Reactions To The Wax & Alexander Op-Ed On The Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' (Sept. 22, 2017)
- Glenn Reynolds: It Is Time Academics Preach the Virtues They Practice (Sept. 26, 2017)
- Penn Alumni Speak Out Against Breakdown Of The 'Bourgeois Culture' Op-Ed (Sept. 26, 2017)
- Amy Wax: The Closing Of The Academic Mind (Feb. 19, 2018)
- Penn Dean Denies Amy Wax's Claim That He Asked Her To Take Leave Due To Controversial Op-Ed (Feb. 21, 2018)
- Jonah Gelbach: On Amy Wax’s Credibility And Conduct (Feb. 24, 2018)
- After 'Disparaging' Comments About Black Students, Amy Wax Barred From Teaching 1L Course At Penn (Mar. 14, 2018)
- Heather McDonald: The Penn Law School Mob Scores A Victory (March 19, 2018)
- Amy Wax: The University Of Denial — Aggressive Suppression Of The Truth Is A Central Feature Of American Higher Education (Mar. 24, 2018)
- Paul Levy: University Boardrooms Need Reform (June 18, 2018)
- Bryan Camp: Wax Does Not Wane (July 10, 2018)
- Amy Wax Controversy Drags Penn Law Into Free-Speech Dilemma (July 27, 2019)
- Too Noxious For Tenure? (Aug. 7, 2019)