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Why Punish Tenured Professor Over Verifiable Statements?

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Law Professor Amy Wax of Penn Made Claims Which Were Never Refuted

WASHINGTON - eTradeWire -- It has been reported that the U of PennLaw School has received a recommendation that it impose, on a law professor protected by tenure, severe sanctions  for statements she made which may have been true and apparently were never refuted.

In other words, although Professor Amy Wax's right to express even the most controversial opinions is supposedly protected by both the guarantees of tenure and by legally binding commitments by her university, she may nevertheless be deprived of any income for an entire year, and lose other valuable benefits, for making factual-type statements which may even be true.

It appears that the university has not attempted to refute them, much less show that they are so clearly false and outrageous that merely uttering them, especially in off-campus settings, would warrant severe punishment, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf, who has won many such free speech battles.

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Thus her statements, because they are more in the nature of facts than pure speculation or opinion, and rest upon easily ascertainable and indisputable data, are ones which should be subject to objective discussion and refutation in the spirit of academic freedom and open debate.

Penn should not simply label them "racist," and then try to use them as a basis for severe punishment, he suggests.

For example, in one statement which has been cited, Wax said in a podcast about affirmative action that "I don't think I've ever seen a Black student graduate in the top quarter of the class, and rarely, rarely, in the top half of my required first-year course."

Penn could easily refute this statement if it's factually incorrect, and especially if it is so clearly wrong (rather than simply being a small misstatement or slight exaggeration) as to warrant punishment, since it has in its own computer the grades Wax and other law professors assigned during her time there.

It also appears that Wax is about to be punished for saying, in a discussion about whether America's immigration policy should ever consider race, "that our country will be better off with more whites and fewer nonwhites."

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But whether or not our country would "be better off" if our immigration policy favored Caucasians over other races or ethnic groups as an empirical - or at least empirical-sounding assertion - should be capable of rational analysis.

For a more complete explanation of how this verifiable hypothesis can and should be tested before any fair discipline can be imposed, see:
Penn U May Fire Professor For Possibly True Claims; Factual-Type Statements Should Be Refuted, Not Punished (https://www.valuewalk.com/penn-u-may-fire-professor-for-possibly-true-claims/)

http://banzhaf.net/   jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com   @profbanzhaf

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Source: Public Interest Law Professor John Banzhaf
Filed Under: Education

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