Penn v. Wax: Closing Arguments

National Association of Scholars

Editor’s Note: The two documents to which we link in the buttons below contain the closing argument and slideshow presented by Professor Amy Wax’s counsel during disciplinary proceedings.

The University of Pennsylvania’s (Penn) proceedings are intended to seek and impose “major sanctions” as a consequence of Wax’s speech. The proceedings were requested by the dean of Penn’s Carey Law School, Theodore Ruger, in 2022. Dean Ruger alleges that Professor Wax has made inflammatory comments, among other similar complaints pertaining to university policies. Almost all cited examples of speech included in his complaint, as well as verifiable testimony provided by the university, are statements made by Professor Wax in public venues, not in class.

Wax’s public speech has included statements on race, culture, and justice. Such discussions, regardless of venue or taboo, are necessary. The winning arguments of these debates have real-world policy effects.

Academic freedom ought to protect such speech, and to ensure that it does have a place on campus. Sadly, Wax had to seek venues off campus in order to have important discussions of national interest.

It is our view, and has been our view, that Professor Wax’s public statements do not rise to the level of “major sanctions.” Moreover, her bravery to engage in such controversial conversations should be encouraged. It is the very reason we awarded Professor Wax with the Peter Shaw Memorial Award in 2018.



Photo by WestCoastivieS - Own work, CC0,

  • Share

Most Commented

May 18, 2023


Letter: In Defense of Professor Scott Gerber

The Ohio Northern University’s senior administrators have treated Professor Scott Gerber appallingly by removing him from campus without due cause—a clear abuse of......

May 9, 2023


More Title IX Mischief

The Biden Education Department's Office for Civil Rights proposes a new rule on athletic eligibility favoring sexual confusion over female athletes....

May 23, 2023


Academic Freedom Isn’t Free

If higher education cannot hold itself to its founding principles, then we must....

Most Read

April 7, 2023


Congress Asks Dept of Education to Enforce Foreign Gift Disclosure Laws

The National Association of Scholars strongly endorses the Representatives' work to open the books on higher education's concealed dealings with the foreign despots who see......

May 15, 2015


Where Did We Get the Idea That Only White People Can Be Racist?

A look at the double standard that has arisen regarding racism, illustrated recently by the reaction to a black professor's biased comments on Twitter....

April 14, 2023


Faculty Fight for Academic Freedom at Harvard

While many faculty quietly endorse views they privately disagree with, Harvard faculty band together to resist administrative overreach, overzealous students, and protect academic freedom....