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