More than a month after Penn Law School professor Amy Wax co-wrote a controversial op-ed in praise of "bourgeois values," the University is still dealing with blowback from her now-viral article.
In an op-ed published Monday in The Wall Street Journal, political commentator Heather MacDonald bashed Penn Law's "hysterical response" to Wax's piece, specifically calling out Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger and Wax's colleagues over responses they published in The Daily Pennsylvanian.
The result of these "administrative capitulations," MacDonald wrote, is "an ever more monolithic intellectual environment on American campuses, where behavioral analyses of social problems may not even be whispered."
Wax's original piece, which she co-wrote with a professor from the University of San Diego, was published in The Philadelphia Inquirer with the headline, "Paying the price for breakdown of the country's bourgeois culture."
The piece asserted that America should return to the “bourgeois” cultural norms of the 1950s and 1960s and condemned the “anti- ‘acting white’ rap culture of inner-city blacks” and the “anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants.” In an interview with the DP, Wax reiterated that Anglo-Protestant values are "superior" and said, "Everyone wants to go to countries ruled by white Europeans."
Ruger responded to the Wall Street Journal op-ed in an email sent to Penn Law alumni on Tuesday night.
"I have consistently and adamantly supported Professor Wax’s freedom of speech," Ruger wrote in the email. "I believe that more speech is always better than decanal regulation of either a professor’s speech or the speech of those who disagree with her."
"What I have also done," he went on to write, "is to similarly refuse to shut down or dampen the written responses of those law students, faculty, and alumni who disagree with Professor Wax."
When contacted for comment on Tuesday night, Wax issued a five-paragraph statement and demanded it be printed in full or not at all. (A full version of her statement is available here.)
In the weeks since Wax's column was published, Penn Law's chapter of the National Lawyers Guild called for her to be banned from teaching required, first-year courses. Graduate Employees Together-University of Pennsylvania, which advocates for graduate student unionization, wrote an open letter blasting her column.
Different pockets of Penn Law faculty members have also taken stances against Wax’s piece. One letter from five Penn Law professors called it “bad history” and another from 33 faculty members openly denounced her analysis.
Steven Barnes, a spokesperson for Penn Law, did not respond to a request for comment.