To the University of Pennsylvania Community:
We write to condemn recent statements our colleague Amy Wax, the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at Penn Law School, has made in popular media pieces.
In an op-ed published recently at Philly.com, Wax and a coauthor wrote that “All cultures are not equal,” going on to claim that various social problems would be “significantly reduce[d]” if “the academics, media, and Hollywood” would stop the “preening pretense of defending the downtrodden,” because that would lead to “restoring the hegemony of the bourgeois culture.” In an interview with The Daily Pennsylvanian about the op-ed, Wax was quoted as saying that “Everyone wants to go to countries ruled by white Europeans,” because, in the phrasing of the DP article’s author, “Anglo-Protestant cultural norms are superior.”
Wax has every right to express her opinions publicly free from fear of legal sanction thanks to the First Amendment, and she may do so without fear for her job due to her position as a tenured faculty member at Penn.
We do not question those rights, or the important role that principles of academic freedom play at our University. But Wax’s right to express her opinions does not make her statements right, nor insulate her from criticism.
We categorically reject Wax’s claims.
We believe the ideal of equal opportunity to succeed in education is best achieved by a combination of academic freedom, open debate and a commitment by all participants to respect one another without bias or stereotype. To our students, we say the following: If your experience at Penn Law falls substantially short of this ideal, something has gone wrong, and we want to know about it.
Penn Law faculty listed on following page (titles for identification purposes; names listed in alphabetical order):
- Regina Austin, William A. Schnader Professor of Law
- Tom Baker, William Maul Measey Professor of Law and Health Sciences
- Shyamkrishna Balganesh, Professor of Law
- William Wilson Bratton, Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law
- Stephen B. Burbank, David Berger Professor for the Administration of Justice
- William W. Burke-White, Richard Perry Professor and Professor of Law
- Howard F. Chang, Earle Hepburn Professor of Law
- Cynthia Laury Dahl, Practice Professor of Law
- Jacques deLisle, Stephen A. Cozen Professor of Law & Professor of Political Science
- Eric A. Feldman, Professor of Law
- Kara R. Finck, Practice Professor of Law
- Douglas Frenkel, Morris Shuster Practice Professor of Law
- Jean Galbraith, Assistant Professor of Law
- Jonah B. Gelbach, Professor of Law
- Sarah Barringer Gordon, Arlin M. Adams Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History
- Susanna R. Greenberg, Clinical Supervisor and Lecturer
- Allison Hoffman, Professor of Law
- David Hoffman, Professor of Law
- Jonathan Klick, Professor of Law
- Praveen Kosuri, Practice Professor of Law
- Seth Kreimer, Kenneth W. Gemmill Professor of Law
- Sophia Z. Lee, Professor of Law and History
- Serena Mayeri, Professor of Law and History
- Maggie McKinley (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe), Assistant Professor of Law
- Charles W. Mooney, Jr., Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Professor of Law
- Sarah Paoletti, Practice Professor of Law
- Gideon Parchomovsky, Robert G. Fuller, Jr. Professor of Law
- Dorothy E. Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology and the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights
- Kermit Roosevelt, Professor of Law
- David Rudovsky, Senior Fellow
- Louis S. Rulli, Practice Professor of Law and Clinical Director
- Tobias Barrington Wolff, Professor of Law
- Christopher S. Yoo, John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.