AFA Sends Letter to Penn on Amy Wax
Letter calls for end to consideration of “major sanction” against Wax
PRINCETON, NJ – The Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA) today sent a letter to the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in defense of Professor Amy Wax, Robert Mundheim Professor of Law, after Dean Theodore W. Ruger of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School asked Penn’s Faculty Senate to impose “a major sanction” on Professor Wax for dozens of her public statements and several teaching decisions.
“We regard this as a threat to Professor Wax’s tenure and her employment as a professor at the Law School, and a grave violation of her academic freedom,” wrote Janet Halley and Lucas E. Morel, co-chairs of the AFA’s Academic Committee, in the letter to President M. Elizabeth Magill. “The AFA now asks that the University Faculty Senate conclude its current consideration of Dean Ruger’s referral letter.”
Today’s letter from the AFA follows a previous letter that the organization sent to Penn defending Professor Wax’s academic freedom on January 16, 2022. As noted in this previous letter, Dean Ruger initially issued a statement saying that Wax’s comments were protected by principles of academic freedom. Since then, the AFA has learned of Dean Ruger’s calls for sanctions against Professor Wax, which were made in a letter dated March 3, 2022.
“[Dean Ruger’s] 12-page document accuses Professor Wax of making controversial statements on issues of law and public policy—statements we regard as fully protected by principles of academic freedom—and inviting a controversial speaker to lecture to her class,” Halley and Morel write in today’s letter. “The University of Pennsylvania should take no action against Professor Wax and state unequivocally that tenure remains a fundamental protection for all of its diverse faculty as they teach as University of Pennsylvania professors and speak as private citizens.”
- Today’s letter from the AFA to Penn
- The AFA’s letter to Penn in January regarding Wax
- Dean Ruger’s January 3 statement affirming Wax’s academic freedom
- AAUP’s Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure, stating that when professors “speak or write as citizens, they should be free from institutional censorship or discipline.”