The Legal Beat
Penn Law School professor Amy Wax is making the most of the funds she’s raised through her Amy Wax Defense Fund — an entity which she continues to explicitly bill as a tax-deductible charity set up for her personal benefit. If that confuses you… you’re not alone. Anyway, Wax’s attorney, David Shapiro of the Shapiro Litigation Group, has filed a formal grievance against Dean Ted Ruger after the administrator initiated proceedings to sanction Wax for a string of incidents up to and including bringing a white nationalist to campus.
It will shock you not at all to learn that Wax doesn’t think she’s done anything wrong.
In the Jan. 16, 43-page memorandum, Shapiro also alleges that Ruger “stripped [Wax] of her first-year teaching responsibilities and all committee assignments within the Law School without valid justification based on unfounded allegations of ‘bias’” and that he “deliberately created courses on the same topics as the ones she teaches in order to discourage students from enrolling in her classes.”
This account elides some details. Wax lost her 1L teaching duties after she started publicly claiming that Black students rarely graduate in the top half of their Penn Law classes, a false claim for which she offered zero support. Ultimately she would make ludicrous demands that the school launch a public inquiry into Black student grades… AN ADMISSION THAT SHE NEVER HAD ANY SUPPORT WHEN SHE MADE THE CLAIM. Everyone knew she couldn’t possibly have any evidence when she insulted a whole host of students, but to come right out and make it obvious was truly a work of astounding lunacy.
Since a professor publicly leveling conspiracy theories that a whole category of students don’t deserve good grades raises a whole host of problems, the school decided to limit Wax to teaching electives.
Meanwhile, the argument that the school “deliberately created courses on the same topics as the ones she teaches in order to discourage students from enrolling in her classes” doesn’t even make sense. Multiple options does not discourage anyone from taking a class — they are already discouraged and that’s why they exercise the option of taking another class. This line of reasoning puts the cart before the horse. Except the cart has no wheels.
And also the horse is dead.
“Even though at times hard to hear or read, everything Prof. Wax is accused of saying finds support in social science research and other empirically based sources and has been expressed by various critics and commentators all over the country and the world,” Shapiro wrote, adding that tenured members of the university cannot be terminated by making fact-based sociological observations about ethnic, national and minority groups, including those in the United States.
So when he says “empirically based sources,” he’s talking about Wikipedia. That sounds like hyperbole, but when the New Yorker gave Amy Wax an opportunity to back up some of her zany claims, she came back with a Wikipedia link.
Unsurprisingly, the grievance neglects to identify any other specific research or empirical studies.
Indeed, her collection of racist and otherwise bigoted statements are notoriously bereft of actual evidence. While wrapping herself in “academic freedom,” Wax’s c.v. is heavy on newspaper opinion pieces and fringe podcast appearances. Less “academic freedom” and more “an ‘academic’ demanding freedom to do anything but actual scholarship.”
As the grievance cites in its closing pages:
“Academic freedom gives . . . faculty the right to express their views — in speech, writing, and through electronic communication, both on and off campus — without fear of sanction, unless the manner of expression substantially impairs the rights of others or, in the case of faculty members, those views demonstrate that they are professionally ignorant, incompetent, or dishonest with regard to their discipline or fields of expertise.”
Yeah, I don’t think that’s the blockbuster closing argument you thought it was, buddy.
Earlier: Amy Wax Moves To Dismiss Disciplinary Action, Still Raising Legal Defense Funds That She Claims Are Tax-Deductible
Amy Wax Is Back And Ready To Blame Women For Ruining Universities
Amy Wax Says Her Legal Defense Fund Is A 501(c)(3) Charity And That Seems… Odd
There Are No Tax Benefits To Donating To Professor Amy Wax’s Legal Defense Fund Especially When The Website Looks Like A Phishing Scam
Law School Seeking ‘Major Sanction’ Against Amy Wax… Cue The Whining About Academic Freedom
Law School Professor Amy Wax Cites Wikipedia And We Need To Stop Pretending Tenure Was Made For This
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.