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Penn Professor Critical of Affirmative Action Receives ‘Academic Courage’ Award

Professor Amy Wax (via YouTube)

University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Amy Wax received an award Tuesday night for continuing to voice opinions deemed unacceptable by liberal academia despite personal attacks on her integrity.

The Nation Association of Scholars presented Wax with the Peter Shaw Award for Academic Courage in recognition of her refusal to bow to the overwhelming public pressure she faced for criticizing affirmative action and suggesting all cultures are not equal.

“It is unfortunate that it now requires great courage to share personal observations or speak about the real effects of policy,” said NAS president Peter Wood. “Even more disastrous for society are the values universities are affirming in young people by supporting their infantile and narcissistic desires to never be offended or listen to opposing viewpoints.”

Wax was pilloried by pundits, academics, and university administrators in August of last year after writing an op-ed bemoaning the decline of “bourgeois culture” and the deteriorating socioeconomic effect it has wrought on American society. She was subsequently banned from teaching any mandatory first-year courses at Penn Law after publicly stating — as part of a broader criticism of affirmative-action policies — that black students “rarely” finish in the top half of their class.

Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger chastised Wax for her comments, which were made in furtherance of her argument that affirmative action harms black job applicants because prospective employers assume they are less qualified.

“In light of Professor Wax’s statements, black students assigned to her class in their first week at Penn Law may reasonably wonder whether their professor has already come to a conclusion about their presence, performance, and potential for success in law school and thereafter,” Ruger declared in a statement announcing Wax would no longer be allowed to teach mandatory first-year courses.

Jack Crowe — Jack Crowe is a news writer at National Review Online.

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