A University of Pennsylvania law professor has been booted from the classroom amid fallout over her comments claiming Black students “rarely” graduate at the top of their classes.
Professor Amy Wax will no longer serve as the instructor for an introductory civil procedure course, law school Dean Ted Ruger announced in a statement Tuesday. The tenured professor will still be allowed to teach elective courses, however.
“…Black students have graduated in the top of the class at Penn Law,” Ruger told student paper The Daily Pennsylvanian. “And contrary to any suggestion otherwise, Black students at Penn Law are extremely successful, both inside and outside of the classroom, out in the job market, and in their careers.”
Wax’s off-putting comments first made headlines last year, but a resurfaced video of the teacher saying she’s never seen an African-American student graduate in the top quarter, or even the top half of their class has sparked renewed outrage. Angry students launched an online petition this week, calling on the university to take action against Wax.
It was during a September 2017 talk with Brown University professor Glenn Loury titled, “The Downside to Social Uplift,” when Wax made the offensive remarks.
“Here’s a very inconvenient fact, Glenn,” Wax said during the discussion. “…I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the [Penn Law School] class and rarely, rarely in the top half.”
“I can think of one or two students who’ve graduated in the top half of my required first-year course,” she added. The professor also claimed it was a “closely guarded secret” that Penn Law Review has a racial diversity mandate, which Ruger has denied.
This isn’t the first time folks have been angered by Wax’s views, however.
The Daily Pennsylvanian reported that several members of the school community have pushed for Wax to be pulled from teaching the first-year course after she co-authored a provocative op-ed in 2017 calling for a return to 1950’s American cultural norms. In a subsequent interview with the student newspaper, Wax reportedly argued that Anglo-Protestant culture was superior.
More than 30 professors have said they respect Wax’s right to free speech, but each signed a letter denouncing her racially charged comments, the New York Daily News reported.