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Dean disputes white professor’s statement on black students

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A white University of Pennsylvania law school professor who said she has never seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the class has been removed from teaching required first-year law courses.

Law school dean Ted Ruger said professor Amy Wax spoke “disparagingly and inaccurately” about the performance of black students during an interview with Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury on the “downside of affirmative action” last year.

“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,” Wax said at the time.

Wax also claimed that the University of Pennsylvania Law Review has a racial diversity mandate, suggesting that black students had not earned their places. Speaking about black law students at Penn and peer schools, she went on to say that some of them shouldn’t even be attending college.

Ruger said it was imperative for him as dean to state that Wax’s claims are false.

“Black students have graduated in the top of the class at Penn Law, and the Law Review does not have a diversity mandate. Rather, its editors are selected based on a competitive process,” he said. “And contrary to any suggestion otherwise, black students at Penn Law are extremely successful, both inside and outside the classroom, in the job market and in their careers.”

Wax has tenure at the university and will retain her salary and her seniority. She will continue to teach a full course load of electives but will not be teaching a mandatory first-year law school course.

Wax has made provocative statements before, claiming Anglo-Protestant cultural norms are superior to others. She also claimed in a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed last year that America should return to the bourgeois culture of the 1950s. In that article, she condemned “the single-parent, anti-social habits, prevalent among some working-class whites,” ”the anti ‘acting white’ rap culture of inner-city blacks” and the “anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants” and said they were not suited for a “First World, 21st-century environment.”

A voicemail and an email seeking comment from Wax weren’t immediately returned Wednesday.

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