Law Professors

Penn Law dean will seek university sanctions against law prof for her 'derogatory public statements'

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The eastern facade of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School in 2006. Photo by Jeffrey M. Vinocur via Wikimedia Commons.

The dean of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School plans to seek university sanctions against a tenured law professor now under fire for remarks about “problematic” immigration by the “Asian elite.”

Law dean Theodore Ruger told the law school community Tuesday that he will initiate the sanctions procedure against law professor Amy Wax, report the Philadelphia Inquirer (via How Appealing and Above the Law), and Reuters.

Ruger said he is aggregating prior and current complaints against Wax along with “other information available to me” to initiate the process.

Wax’s conduct “has generated multiple complaints from members of our community citing the impact of pervasive and recurring vitriol and promotion of white supremacy as cumulative and increasing,” Ruger said. “The complaints assert that it is impossible for students to take classes from her without a reasonable belief that they are being treated with discriminatory animus. These complaints clearly call for a process that can fairly consider claims, for example, that her conduct is having an adverse and discernable impact on her teaching and classroom activities.”

Ruger said Wax’s “derogatory public statements” began in 2017, and some of those statements “exploited her faculty access to confidential information about students in ostensible support of her inaccurate statements.”

Ruger had removed Wax from teaching required courses to first-year students in March 2018 after she said there is a “downside of affirmative action.” She asserted that Black law students rarely graduate in the top half of their class, and she doesn’t recall ever seeing a Black student graduate in the top quarter of the class.

Ruger said at that time Wax’s statements weren’t true, and they violated a confidentiality policy concerning grades.

In other remarks, Wax:

• Said in a Dec. 20, 2021, podcast dominance by the “Asian elite” was a danger. Wax said Asians “tend to be more conformist to whatever the dominant ethos is,” and the dominant ethos today is “wokeness.” After the interview, Wax said in a written response to a podcast listener that the United States would be “better off with fewer Asians and less Asian immigration” as long as they support Democrats and their positions.

• Said at a National Conservatism Conference in July 2019 former President Donald Trump’s comment about immigrants from “s- - -hole countries” has to be taken seriously. Wax spoke about the dangers of cultural change when immigrants come from third-world countries with different cultural values.

• Bemoaned the “loss of bourgeois habits” in an August 2017 op-ed co-written with a San Diego law professor. The op-ed said bourgeois culture included getting married before having children, getting the education needed for a good job, working hard, going the extra mile for your employer, being a patriot, being respectful of authority, and avoiding drugs and criminal acts.

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