Asa Khalif, leader of Black Lives Matter (BLM) Pennsylvania, doesn’t believe the demotion of controversial University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Amy Wax is enough.
He wants her fired, and if this doesn’t happen within a week’s time, he plans to make things on the West Philadelphia campus very uncomfortable.
Khalif said he has reached out to Penn and notified the university that if Wax, who has suggested that African-American students are inferior, is not fired he will begin disrupting classes and other campus activities with a wave of protests that could begin as soon as Friday.
“Anyone with the types of beliefs she holds teaching Black and brown students is a danger to them and their future,” Khalif told The Tribune on Friday. “We are unwavering in our one demand that she be fired. Based on her beliefs and the things she has said, she is a threat to Black and brown students.”
During a video interview from last September that recently surfaced, Wax, a tenured professor, told Brown University Professor Glenn Loury, “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. I can think of one or two students that have scored in the top half of my required first-year course.”
In an email to the student body, Penn Law School Dean Theodore Ruger refuted this, saying, “Black students have graduated in the top of the class.” He also refuted her statement that Black students had undeservedly served on the Penn Law Review.
However, punitive measures ended at Wax no longer teaching first-year lecture classes. Ruger, said there would be no further action.
“I know that this decision will spur debate and difficult conversations in the days, weeks and months ahead, and I welcome them,” Ruger wrote in his email. “All faculty and students here will remain free to express their views. And all students and faculty are entitled to a law school that welcomes them equally as individuals.”
Khalif said that protest is a “last resort,” and that Penn has “a week to respond or fire her.”
Khalif noted he has already started building a coalition to join with BLM Pennsylvania in the future protests and disruptions. He added that there are a number of Penn students who have told him they are afraid to say anything about Wax due to potential reprisal.
Also last year, Wax collaborated on a controversial op-ed titled, “Paying the price for the Breakdown of the country’s bourgeois.” The piece read like an elitist take on President Trump’s “Make American Great Again” campaign slogan, which many believed had racially undertones.
“None of what this racist is doing is new to anyone familiar with her,” Khalif said. “Many people have known about her for years. Not just Black and brown people, but people who don’t believe she can fairly grade or teach people who don’t look like her.
“It’s not a safe environment for students who are trying to get an education,” he continued. “We have to speak for the students who can’t speak for themselves. As far as I’m concerned, all she’s been given is a slap on the wrist.”