Calls for Penn law professor's removal after racist comments against Asians

Amy Wax has a history of similar comments, elected officials say

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A University of Pennsylvania law professor is under fire again for remarks that elected leaders are calling racist and xenophobic, and they want the tenured professor to be removed.

University of Pennsylvania Law Professor Amy Wax said in part in a recent radio interview that the country is “better off with fewer Asians and less Asian immigration.”

This is only the most recent comment from Wax to receive backlash.

In 2019, a group of Penn Law students called on Wax to be dismissed after she said, "Our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites."

Several officials including Councilmember David Oh stood in solidarity in front of the law school Thursday, demanding again that action be taken against Wax.

"The university has responded by saying she has tenure. I would question that seriously. Is it because she has tenure? Or because you don't feel that this is worthwhile, that this is a thing that you are unwilling to take action on?" Oh asked.

"I think it is important for us to call out the University of Pennsylvania, its Board of Trustees, and to challenge them to live up to what they claim is the basis of this law school and this entire institution of higher learning."

Oh was joined by State Senators Anthony Williams and Sharif Street, Marcia Bronstein from the American Jewish Committee, and Philadelphia NAACP President Katherine Hicks.

"Her statements push damaging generalizations and stereotypes of a particular community," said Hicks.

"There have been accusations of this behavior in the past that has gone without consequence. Everything that you do has a consequence. Every action has a reaction. And the consequences for her remarks should be that she is let go."

Street, a graduate of Penn Law, condemned the rhetoric and said that Wax's tenure should not permit hate speech.

"Hate speech is regulated because it has been constitutionally determined that hate speech, like yelling fire in a crowded movie theater, creates dangers for other people. It creates license to devalue people. It contributes to the violence that we've seen against Asian-Americans that is happening across the country."

A Penn Law spokesperson said in a statement that the university has been consulted about the “serious and harmful nature” of Wax’s conduct.

"University rules require that faculty members must go through a process that involves Faculty Senate authority before they can be sanctioned," the statement said.

The spokesperson added more specific action will be announced soon.

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