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Photo by Sarah Best

Tenured Penn Law professor Amy Wax makes her bigotry and disdain for non-white and non-Western immigrants clear. At the National Conservatism Conference back in July of this summer, Wax openly advocated for the favoring of Western immigrants over non-Western groups. She has unapologetically claimed that Anglo-Protestant norms are superior and that cultures should be distinctly separated into “layers,” and advocated for the return to the 1950s American bourgeois culture. This should not and cannot be tolerated. To prevent Wax from furthering her ideals through Penn Law, it’s time to see her fired from the faculty. 

The Philadelphia and Penn communities have not been silent. Penn undergraduate and Penn Law students alike continue to gather together in solidarity to denounce her outdated and inflammatory remarks. Community members are taking action and actually doing something about the problem. Several Penn Law student groups, such as the South Asian Law Students Association and the Latinx Law Student Association, have organized protests and signed petitions calling for the firing of Wax. Over 50 students showed up to the protests, and the petition asking for Wax’s removal has garnered thousands of signatures.

The Penn student population and its supporters are taking action. The community is pleading to see Wax fired. And, given Wax’s extreme statements and teachings, it’s time for that to happen. But what has the Penn Law administration done? 

After thousands signed a petition to reprimand Wax over her outrageous and racist statements, Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger issued a statement denouncing her claims and emphasizing that her values do not reflect Penn Law’s. 

In 2018, after Wax claimed she had never seen a Penn black student graduate in the top quarter of the class, Ruger announced she would no longer be able to teach a mandatory first-year law course. However, Wax’s entire teaching rights were not removed, nor was she fired. 

Penn Law’s response to Wax are steps in the right direction, but the action taken by Penn Law wasn’t and isn’t enough. As long as Wax remains a Penn Law faculty member, she stands on a powerful platform through which she can spread her dangerous ideas. Wax is misrepresenting Penn Law’s values. The firing of Amy Wax is long since overdue; it’s time for more serious actions and proactive measures to be taken against Wax to protect the integrity of Penn Law’s teachings, values, and foundations.  

The firing of Wax will demonstrate to the Penn community that Penn Law will not accept racism and bigotry, nor will it allow its students to learn within such divisive, toxic environments. By firing Wax, Penn Law has the opportunity to set an important and critical precedent — that bigotry, racism, and discrimination will not be tolerated at Penn. 

Credit: Alec Druggan

LARK YAN is a College sophomore from Toledo, Ohio studying Health and Societies. Her email address is larkyan@sas.upenn.edu

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