Penn law student groups call for professor's dismissal over controversial remarks

John McDevitt
October 18, 2019 - 12:47 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Minority law student groups at the University of Pennsylvania are calling for the dismissal of a professor who they say is offensive. 

The students claim professor Amy Wax has been delivering remarks that are racist, bigoted and homophobic over the years.

Vox reported in July of this year that, on a National Conservatism Conference panel about immigration, she said "our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites." And she reportredly said that immigrants are too loud and responsible for an increase in litter.

Last year, she came under fire for questioning the academic aptitude of black students and suggesting that some black students shouldn't go to college. And she wrote in a 2017 Inquirer op-ed that "all cultures are not equal," despite the modern "obsession with race." 

"Given her consistent history of these statements, I imagine she will continue to espouse them as long as their are no consequences," said JiLon Li, co-president of Penn's Asian Pacific American Law Students Association.

"I think that her general argument through all of this is that she is proposing a analysis of culture, but in reality, at least in my mind and in the minds of a lot of students at Penn Law, that is just a very sort of thin facade for what in her heart of hearts in just a true form of bigotry against pretty much everyone except white men," Li added. 

Several minority law student groups on campus including the South Asian Law Students Association, Black Law Students Association, Latinx Law Students Association and Lambda Law are demanding Wax be fired, and they want the university to work with them so students feel more welcome at the law school.

"And one of the reasons why this is important to us is because I think this allows the law school to communicate that there is a permanent space at Penn Law for students of color and that professor Wax and her idea that people of color don't belong is outdated and won't be accepted," Li said.

Li says discussions with the administration are set for next month. Among the things, students are asking for a designated space for their meetings and additional opportunities in law clerk programs.

A request for a response from the law school has yet to be returned.