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September 21, 2019

Penn Law students, dean hold meeting to discuss Amy Wax, don't invite Amy Wax

The controversial professor received backlash earlier this year for her comments on immigration and race

Education Universities
Amy Wax penn professor Contributed image/Penn Law

Amy L. Wax, the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania, said at a conference on conservatism in July that the United States would be "better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites".

University of Pennsylvania students, and Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger, held a town hall meeting Thursday to discuss controversial professor Amy Wax. 

Wax received backlash earlier this year for her comments on immigration and race, saying the U.S. would be "better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites", leading to calls for her to be fired, and condemnation of her comments from Ruger.

Interestingly, according to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), not only was Wax not invited to Thursday's town hall about her, but she wasn't even aware of its existence

According to FIRE, Wax took umbrage with being kept in the dark by Ruger:

"'This conversation should not have occurred without my knowledge and presence,' Wax said. 'To do otherwise is sneaky, dishonorable, uncollegial, and damaging to me as a member of the faculty. The danger of unmet and unsubstantiated allegations was enormous.'

"Wax said that had she been invited, she would have attended to respond to questions and participate in the discussion."

A spokesperson for Penn Law told FIRE that the event was largely a student government event, and no Penn faculty, outside of Ruger, were invited.

The decision to not notify Wax about the event may have been a way to keep tensions from boiling over in a face-to-face setting. In 2017, students at Yale University famously had a confrontational standoff with a professor on campus after the professor's wife sent an email about political correctness and Halloween costumes.

Wax hasn't backed down from her comments or positions in the months following the backlash. Last month, she implied colonialism wasn't a driving factor behind wealth and prosperity disparities among countries, and said she doesn't think every generalization on the basis of race is racist.

Penn said this summer that Wax is taking a planned year-long sabbatical during this academic year.

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