A university professor is facing backlash after allegedly making “racist” comments during a conference about conservatism over the weekend. Amy Wax, the Robert Mundheim Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, allegedly said during a panel discussion on immigration that the U.S. would be better off with “more whites and fewer nonwhites.”
The attorney was participating at the three-day Edmund Burke Foundation’s National Conservatism conference when she made the comments, according to Vox. While there is no recording or transcript of the panel, Vox claims that Wax suggested immigrants are responsible for an increase in "litter" and are too loud.
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“Our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites,” Wax said according to Vox, maintaining that such comments were not racist as her opinions on nonwhite immigrants are the result of culture and not biology.
“Conservatives need a realistic approach to immigration that... preserves the United States as a Western and First World nation,” she added during the "American Greatness and Immigration: The Case for Low and Slow" panel. The panel was based on her article, "Debating Immigration Restriction: The Case for Low and Slow," which was published in 2018 in the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy.
“We are better off if we are dominated numerically ... by people from the First World, from the West, than by people who are from less advanced countries," Wax reportedly said.
Following the publication of her purported comments, social media immediately responded.
The fact that @PennLaw continues to employ Amy Wax and allows her to peddle her unvarnished racism backed up by no "academic" evidence in their name is an insult to every non-white student or alumnus of Penn, and I imagine quite a few of the white ones too. https://t.co/VxZBkktayR— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) July 18, 2019
Hey @Penn, I'm an alumna who is more than happy to end my regular contributions to the University if Amy Wax remains on staff. This is certainly not the first time Wax has made abhorrent statements as a Penn professor, but it absolutely needs to be the last. @PennLaw https://t.co/aJ9KByLihh— Sara-Paige💫 (@SP_Silvestro) July 17, 2019
We've found the racist bone!— Adam Rothman (@arothmanhistory) July 17, 2019
Penn law professor Amy Wax is quoted in the article cited here saying "our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites." https://t.co/k5Stc2GSl2
How is Amy Wax still teaching at Penn? https://t.co/0BPbaYaPnl— Corrina Laughlin (@CKLaughlin) July 17, 2019
The comments also resulted in more than 1,000 University of Pennsylvania Law School students and alumni calling on the university to release Wax, who has been on the Penn Law faculty since 2001, of her teaching duties. However, it appears the university may have no intention of disciplining the professor for her remarks made outside of the classroom.
Penn Law Dean, Ted Ruger, told Yahoo Lifestyle, "I have not yet had access to the actual panel transcript, and this limits my ability to comment. While we are still gathering the facts, certainly the statements that Vox and others have attributed to Professor Wax do not reflect our institutional values or practices. While as a member of the faculty she is free to express her opinions as provided in Penn’s policies protecting academic freedom and open expression, the views of individual faculty members are their own, and do not represent the institution’s positions."
Wax did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle's request for comment sent to her university email address, but told Law.com that she questions the accuracy of Vox's report.
“Have any of the people at Penn Law actually heard what I said at the conference?” she wrote in an email Friday to the outlet. “Were any of them present? They are basing their hysteria on stories about stories about stories about what one very inattentive, sloppy journalist wrote about the panel. That is laziness, at best, or just the complete collapse of standards.”
However, this is not the first time Wax has found herself in the middle of a controversy. In 2018, the professor was reassigned at the school after a video surfaced in which Wax argued against affirmative action and claimed black law school students at Penn underperformed.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the class, and rarely in the top half,” she told interviewer Glenn Loury, an economics professor at Brown University, at the time. The university’s dean, Ruger, refuted her claims regarding black students, and the school found Wax's comments violated confidentiality rules surrounding grades. Following the ruling, Wax was no longer permitted to teach assigned, required first-year courses.
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