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.

Sincerely,

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.