Paul L. Caron

Monday, July 25, 2022

Amy Wax Raises Over $125,000 To Defend Against ‘Major Sanction’ By Penn; Academic Freedom Alliance Calls For 'Complete Exoneration'

Following up on last week's post, Penn Law Dean Requests Faculty Senate Impose ‘Major Sanction’ Against Amy Wax:

Penn Logo (2022)Reuters, Facing Sanctions, Penn Law Professor Amy Wax Is Crowdfunding Her Legal Defense:

University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax is seeking to crowdfund her legal defense against the university’s charges that she repeatedly violated its non-discrimination rules.

Wax this week launched a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of raising $300,000 and had raised more than [$125,000 as of this morning. Over 800] people have made donations ranging from $5 to $10,000 from an anonymous donor., Fire Racist Penn Law Professor, Amy Wax (over 85,000 signatures as of this morning)

Letter From Academic Freedom Alliance to Penn President Magill(July 18, 2022):

On January 16, 2022, in a letter to then-President Amy Gutmann, the Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) called upon the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) to reaffirm and adhere to its free speech principles by making it clear to t e University of Pennsylvania (Penn) to reaffirm and adhere to its free speech principles by making it clear the public that Professor Amy Wax, Robert Mundheim Professor of Law, would not be sanctioned in any way for her exercise of academic freedom. It has come to our attention that Dean Theodore W. Ruger of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, in a letter dated March 3, 2022, has asked Penn’s Faculty Senate to impose “a major sanction” on Professor Wax for dozens of her public statements and several teaching decisions. We regard this as a threat to Professor Wax’s tenure and her employment as a professor at the Law School, and a grave violation of her academic freedom.

The AFA, as a coalition of faculty members from across the country and across the ideological spectrum committed to upholding the principles of academic freedom and professorial free speech, now asks that the University Faculty Senate conclude its current consideration of Dean Ruger’s referral letter. This 12-page document accuses Professor Wax of making controversial statements on issues of law and public policy—statements we regard as fully protected by principles of academic freedom—and inviting a controversial speaker to lecture to her class. The University of Pennsylvania should take no action against Professor Wax and state unequivocally that tenure remains a fundamental protection for all of its diverse faculty as they teach as University of Pennsylvania professors and speak as private citizens. ...

Nearly all of the comments by Professor Wax cited by Dean Ruger are unquestionably protected by academic freedom, and none of her comments provide legitimate, non-pretextual grounds for finding a “major infraction of University behavioral standards” as defined by Section II. E. 16, 1(B), point 7, of the Faculty Handbook. The Faculty Senate should therefore conclude its proceedings with a complete exoneration of Amy Wax for her multiple exercises of academic freedom, both in her teaching and public statements. Moreover, the University should publicize the Faculty Senate’s conclusion and reaffirm Penn’s commitment to tenure as “the preeminent means of fostering and protecting academic freedom in teaching and in scholarly inquiry.”

Janet Halley, Goldston Professor of Law, Harvard University*, and
Lucas E. Morel, John K. Boardman, Jr. Professor of Politics, Washington and Lee University*
Co-Chairs, Academic Committee, Academic Freedom Alliance

* Affiliations for identification purposes

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