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Penn Law professor Amy Wax Credit: Julia Schorr

To the Editor:

As a Penn Law graduate, I have followed the saga of Professor Amy Wax's increasingly outrageous and incendiary commentary for some time. I believe in academic freedom and the importance of having a spectrum of voices on a campus. I do believe students should be challenged to engage with opinions that differ from their own. No one can have a discourse, however, with views grounded in nothing but raw prejudice and hatred, and no student could possibly benefit from exposure to those ideas.

While presenting at a recent conference, Professor Wax blamed immigrants for being loud and contributing to excessive litter. She endorsed a public policy in favor of limiting nonwhite immigration, because the country would be "better off with more whites than nonwhites."  Professor Wax spouts explicit white supremacist rhetoric, while listing the title of "University of Pennsylvania School of Law Professor" in her conference bios. 

I cannot imagine how an immigrant student at Penn Law would feel. How painful it must be to know that your tuition dollars fund the career of someone telling the nation that you shouldn't be present at all, that you and your family are dirty, loud, and unwanted. A professor, by the nature of her position, is someone students should look up to, someone who has something worth teaching to you. What an insult to every Penn Law student that Professor Wax holds such a position. 

Although the law school has stopped her from teaching first-year classes, I do not believe these steps are adequate to protect the students at Penn Law and the integrity of the school. No one should use the honor of a professor's title to aid the spread of the foulest rhetoric. I hope the next time Amy Wax tries to pass off raw hatred in the guise of academia that she no longer has a Penn Law title to assist her.

Sincerely,

TOM STENSON is a 2005 graduate of Penn Law School and an attorney in Portland, Oregon. His email address is twstenson@yahoo.com.

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