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In an interview on March 26, Carey Law School professor Amy Wax discussed her ongoing disciplinary proceedings with the University. Credit: Jesse Zhang

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School professor Amy Wax is continuing to attack Penn's disciplinary proceedings as she faces the growing prospect of punishment for her controversial behavior.

In a March 26 interview with Glenn Loury — who is a professor of economics at Brown University and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute — Wax said that she was being punished for “standard conservative takes on very important social issues” and referred to the University speech code as both “partisan” and “bullshit.”

A University spokesperson declined to comment.

The interview comes weeks after the June 2023 recommendations made by the Faculty Senate hearing board handling Wax's case became public. The board recommended that Penn sanction Amy Wax, prompting her to appeal the ruling. The current status of her case is not clear.

Wax has drawn criticism for a number of her comments — including claims that Black students never graduate at the top of the Penn Carey Law class and that “non-Western groups” are resentful towards "Western people." Among other allegations,  Wax has also faced criticism for hosting white nationalist Jared Taylor for a guest lecture and allegedly telling a Penn Carey Law student that she was only accepted into the Ivy League "because of affirmative action."

Wax said that the hearing board report, which she referred to as both “brazen and absurd,” indicates that “there is one and only one set of very narrowly defined statements or opinions" that are permissible on Penn's campus. She further alleges that the University treats certain groups — specifically Black people — as "sacred" and "protected" from criticism. 

Wax also argued that the sanctions suggested by the hearing board — which include a public reprimand, expressed by campus leadership — are evidence that at Penn, “truth doesn't matter."" She added that the University's protections of speech are both “shambolic” and “frivolous.”

Loury referred to the proceedings as “unbelievable” and called for the University to “free Amy Wax,” adding that he feels as though Wax is being “railroaded with a capital R.”

"Until people, wake up and say 'this is just unacceptable' … nothing's gonna happen," Wax said.

If the sanctions brought forth by the Faculty Senate hearing board are upheld after Wax's appeal, it would be the first time in recent history that a tenured University professor was sanctioned through Faculty Senate procedures.

A March 6 petition — which has garnered more than 250 signatures as of publication — asks Penn to “Desist in its Threats Against the Academic Freedom of Professor Amy Wax.”

The petition comes in the wake of continued student activism against Wax, most recently during a protest last semester of her conservative law class when white supremacist Jared Taylor visited. Taylor's appearance in November 2023 prompted a school-wide email from Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law of Penn Carey Law Sophia Lee, in what appear to be Lee's only public comments on Wax as dean.

"Campuses across the country are grappling with the bounds of academic freedom," Lee wrote in the Nov. 28 email, adding that due to the confidentiality of the proceedings, she could not provide comment.