Penn disputes conservative professor comments about black students

Penn Law professor Amy was no longer teaching required first-year courses after comments about black students came under fire.


A conservative appointed professor at the University of Pennsylvania has been removed from the mandatory education in the first year law courses for comments that she made about black students in her classes.

Law dean Ted Ruger said professor Amy Wax said “disparaging and inaccurate” about the performance of black students during a September 2017 interview with Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury on the “downside of affirmative action.”

“Here is a very annoying fact, Glenn,” Wax told the host. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen, a black student, graduated in the top quarter of the class, and rarely in the upper half. I find the one or two students who have scored in the top half of my required first year course.”

Wax also talked about the Penn Law “well kept secret” that Penn Law Review has a racial diversity mandate.

Although Ruger has defended for, he wrote a letter to the Penn Law community is Wax’s claims are untrue.

“Black students have graduated in the top of the class at Penn Law, and the Law Review does not have a diversity mandate. On the contrary, the editors are selected on the basis of a competitive process,” he said. “And contrary to any suggestion otherwise, black students at Penn Law are extremely successful, both inside and outside the classroom, on the labour market and their career.”

A Penn Law spokesperson told Fox News was not downgraded or approved. She has a job at the university and the preservation of her salary and her seniority. She will continue to teach a full study of electives, but it is not the teaching of a required first-year law school course.

Wax has made provocative statements, who claims that Anglo-Protestant cultural norms and values are superior to others. They also claimed that in the Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed last year that America should return to the bourgeois culture of the 1950s. In that article, she condemned “the single parent, anti-social habits, known among the working class whites’, ‘ the anti ‘acting white’ rap culture of the inner city blacks” and the “anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among a number of Spanish migrants” and said that they are not suitable for a “First World, 21st-century environment.”

In a reading of the defense of the op-ed, Was warned against the response they had received, adding, at one point, Ruger admitted to her there is only one acceptable view of the immigration at Penn Law.

She read a quote someone wrote about her situation: “What happened with Amy Wax can happen to you. There is nothing stopping someone coming after you. If you say something deemed unacceptable, with the public shaming and unreasoned conviction, once you are labeled a hater, a xenophobe, a racist, or a white supremacist, that label will stick and nothing else will matter in the internet age.”

Jonathan Zimmerman, an education, a history professor at Penn, who has previously defended, told Inside Higher Ed he does not agree with her on some issues, but found the university’s response to chilling.

“There Is no performance gap between the law students?” Zimmerman asked. “I would like to know the extent to which there is or is not, and the dean of the declaration is creative, it is unclear, what the lawyers among us might call nonresponsive.”

Another Penn professor Marybeth Gasman, director of the Penn Center for Minorities, Institutions Must told Inside Higher Ed it was clear Wax “no information” and instead relied on “false” anecdotes to make her claim.

Wax does not immediately respond to request for comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Caleb Parke is an associate editor for You can follow him on Twitter @calebparke

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