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Credit: Tyler Kliem

Amy Wax's legal team submitted a memorandum seeking the dismissal of the ongoing University disciplinary proceedings against her on grounds of a "disabled state" from illness.

The 59-page memorandum claims that Wax — the tenured Penn Law School professor who is facing potential punishment for her inflammatory conduct — is undergoing treatment for “life-threatening” cancer, and asks for postponement of the ongoing proceedings until “at least” the end of the year. David Shapiro, Wax’s lawyer, sent the document to Faculty Senate Chair Vivian L. Gadsden, who is overseeing the proceedings, on Aug. 31.

In the memorandum — which was published on conservative website Legal Insurrection — Wax’s lawyers also made numerous additional requests which, if not met, may “force” Wax to file a formal grievance procedure. This procedure serves as a way for faculty to claim that University action taken against them is unreasonable, discriminatory, or non-compliant with school policy.

Among its six requests, the memorandum asked Gadsden to dismiss the current charges against Wax, bar Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger from acting as the charging party, and appoint an “independent forensic expert” to examine Wax’s unsubstantiated claims that Black law students “rarely” perform in the top half of their class.

“The substantive and procedural problems with the proceedings instituted by Dean Ruger are immense and require immediate rectification before any more harm is done to the University, the Law School, Professor Wax, and other University stakeholders,” the memorandum reads.

Wax, Shapiro, and Ruger did not respond to the DP's requests for comment. 

Penn Law declined to comment on Wax’s numerous allegations against Ruger and the University but said that the University process is still underway. Gadsden wrote to the DP that she is unable to comment on the memorandum.

Wax — a self-described “race realist” who has a years-long history of stirring national controversy by making racist, xenophobic, and homophobic remarks on podcasts and national television — is under a faculty investigation that Ruger initiated in January.

In adherence to the formal University procedure for seeking disciplinary action against tenured faculty, Ruger has charged Wax with violating University standards and has recommended that the Faculty Senate impose a “major sanction” against her, which could result in the professor being stripped of her tenure protection, or fired.

The memorandum from Wax’s lawyers claims that during the proceedings, Ruger has refused to provide medical accommodation to Wax throughout her cancer treatment under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The memorandum asked Gadsden to delay the current proceedings until Wax’s “disabled state” from treatment has abated, portraying their request as an issue of fairness.

The memorandum also claims additional procedural, legal, and ethical issues with the current proceedings against Wax, arguing that the current charges should be dismissed.

It asked the University to publicize data and information substantiating the charges that Ruger outlined in his June report to the Faculty Senate, where he accused Wax of repeated "racist" conduct — such as hosting "renowned white supremacist" Jared Taylor in her seminar LAW 956: “Conservative Political and Legal Thought” in November 2021.

The memorandum reiterated many of Wax’s previous counterarguments, including that Penn Law consented to Wax’s request for permission for Taylor to speak in the class and that the school reimbursed the lunch at White Dog Café where Taylor spoke with students. 

The Penn Law alumni and faculty quoted in Ruger's report, most of whom are Black, detail instances of Wax making racist and homophobic remarks in front of them against people of color and LGBTQ individuals. In one instance, Wax allegedly told 2012 Penn Law graduate Lauren O’Garro-Moore, who is Black, that she had only become a double Ivy “because of affirmative action.”

Since Ruger’s report calling for "major sanctions" against her, Wax has appeared more frequently on a variety of conservative talk shows and podcasts — including that of conservative commentator Charlie Kirk. She has repeatedly refuted the allegations regarding her conduct and reiterated inflammatory statements. She previously said she would not resign or accept being fired "without a fight."

Wax has started a fundraising campaign for her legal defense against the University and has raised over $180,000 so far on GoFundMe.

During an August appearance on "The Glenn Show" — the show where she previously ignited controversy after telling host Glenn Loury that the United States would be better off "with fewer Asians and less Asian immigration" — Wax called accusations of racism against her “laughable.”

“There is so much palaver and cheap talk in that set of accusations, I wouldn't know where to start,” Wax told Loury, describing her case as the “death of academic freedom.”

Wax accused universities like Penn of giving minority students “a pass on rigor, on logic, on objectivity” that should not be given to them, saying that they are allowed to use their struggles as a crux and should instead “grow up.” She connected this accusation to her criticism of affirmative action, saying that its beneficiaries are “over-placed” relative to their classmates.

During the show, Wax denied telling O’Garro-Moore, a Yale University graduate who attended Penn Law, that the only reason she was admitted to two Ivy League universities was because of affirmative action.

“I have never said that to any student,” Wax said to Loury. “In what class? What was the lesson? What was the context? Nothing is supplied; it's just this kind of fertile imagination that I said this.”

O’Garro-Moore told the DP that Wax made that comment to her during the second semester of her first year of law school, during a reception following an event hosted by the Penn Black Law Students Association.

“There is really something to be said for the power of self confidence and knowing that you can do something and hearing someone say very clearly and plainly that they do not believe that you are capable of it simply because you are of a different race. That is really, really damaging,” O’Garro-Moore said.

O’Garro-Moore added that Wax represents someone who is testing how far she can get away with “unchecked” influence and protection while hurting those who have encountered her. She said there are other people who have conservative philosophies that could do a good job teaching without harming their students.

“Overall, I still hold my experience [at Penn Law] in the highest esteem,” O’Garro-Moore said. “I feel that it was just a shame that [Wax] also gets to say that she’s a part of Penn Law."