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tv   QA Amy Wax  CSPAN  June 25, 2018 10:47am-11:49am EDT

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is homelessness and how to combat it in the state. from our perspective, the alaskaportant thing in is to get a long-term intainable fiscal plan place, ongoing revenue outside of our ongoing resources. primarily because we need to stabilize across the state. to feel thatd their funding, which is a constitutional to feel that their funding, which is a constitutional duty in alaska. it is stable, so they can stabilize the schools and most importantly for all of us is to students in the best way to do that is a stable school. us july 21to join and 22nd when we feature our
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visit to alaska. watch alaska weekend on c-span, c-span.org, and listen on the c-span radio app. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] >> this week, university of pennsylvania law professor amy wax. she talks about free speech on university campuses in the united states. brian: before i ask you questions about why we asked you to come here, i want to go through your background. where are you from?
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amy: i was born and raised in new york, in a small city near albany in upset new york. my parents are both deceased now but were part of a very cohesive jewish community up there of fairly devout people, conservative, orthodox jews in that area. my father worked in the garment industry. he eventually bought a small business, a factory up there and worked very hard his whole life to support his family, my two sisters and me. my mother was a teacher for a while and an administrator in the government in albany. i kind of come from the middle bourgeoisie, people who are not very well-connected or in any way, i think, privileged. so i regard myself kind of as a working-class girl, certainly as a human class girl -- yeoman class girl. i went to college at yell college in the early 1970's, which was when yale was just beginning to accept women. i majored in physics and biochemistry. i then went to oxford on a marshall scholarship to study philosophy. i attended harvard medical school. i did a year of harvard law school and really -- law seemed
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to really attractive to me so i decided to continue to pursue it. i ended up at the justice department under the reagan and bush administration and the office of the solicitor general, which handles all of the united states business before the supreme court of the united states, a very exciting place to be, a really wonderful shop in the justice department. i then started teaching law at
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the university of virginia law school. after about seven years, i moved +after about seven years, i moved to the university of pennsylvania law school. i have been an appellate practitioner. i have worked in medicine. and i have been an academic, a legal academic. brian: go back to what you said about being part of the bourgeoisie. amy: i had reason to think hard about what that word means. part of the reason i have become infamous, in my small way, is i published an op-ed about bourgeois values. my understanding of bourgeois values is a set of presets or habits are guidelines that middle-class people in the west, especially in the anglo sphere, have developed a need to us and a code and a set of actresses -- practices which is suited to democratic capitalism. one can make a list of the bourgeois virtues and values.
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i feel that my family was very self-consciously invested in those values. they were adherents, i guess you would say, including being hard-working, being law-abiding, trustworthiness, frugality, honesty, punctuality, restraint, prudence, all of these good things that make for a flourishing within a particular context, which is ours. brian: when you talk about your parents, where did they come from or your family? amy: they came from eastern europe. they were immigrants during the first part of the 20th century, part of that wave of jewish immigration from russia and eastern europe. brian: but as someone with a lot of education, when did you get originally interested in learning? amy: i can't remember a time when i was not interested in learning. my parents were not super well-educated. my mother did eventually get a college degree. my father worked for an associate degree at night. they did not start out their life terribly well-educated. but they clearly revered learning and a certain kind of intellectual rigor and honesty, a searching approach to the truth, to empiricism, to facts and arguments and logic. that was their modus operandi, the way they approach the world. and also irreverence for all the
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high achievements of civilization in art and music and literature. so i recall very distinctly that attitude being imparted to me and in all sorts of ways, big and small. brian: when you went to yale, what did you study in undergrad? amy: i majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry, an interdisciplinary major. but i also studied philosophy, literature -- philosophy of literature, history. i subconsciously and -- i consciously and deliberately familiarized myself with the western 10. i guess you could say my heritage, my tradition. one of my favorite courses in college was victorian poetry, which was really so much more than victorian poetry. i mentioned to a friend of mine, an enlistment, quite literate, a poem by lord tennyson called "arianna -- "marianna." he had never heard of it. he told me that i out-tennysonedmhim. i wanted to know what the great -- out-tennysoned him.
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i wanted to know what they great knowledge was. at the -- brian: at the end of yale, what did you do? amy: i studied at oxford, a new undergraduate program that had been launched called ppp. i did another undergraduate course, and all of this was by way of trying to decide whether i should continue on in science or go in another direction, or go in another direction, perhaps philosophy. i did decide to go on to medicine, although that is not what i ended up doing at the end of the day. i guess you could say i drifted off into another area. really by way of the justice department. brian: did you get your medical degree? host: -- amy: i did. neurology. brian: so you could have been in meteorologist. amy: that was an option. he had never heard of it.
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he told me that i out-tennysonedmhim. i wanted to know wt the eat -- out-tennysoned him. i wanted to know what they great knowledge was. at the -- brian: at the end of yale, what did you do? knowledge was. at the -- brian: at the end of yale, what amy: i studied at oxford, a new undergraduate program that had been launched called ppp. i did another undergraduate course, and all of this was by way of trying to decide whether i should continue on in science or go in another direction, perhaps philosophy. i did decide to go on to medicine, although that is not what i ended up doing at the end of the day. i guess you could say i drifted
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off into another area. really by way of the justice department. brian: did you get your medical medicine, although that is not degree? host: -- amy: i did. neurology. brian: so you could have been in meteorologist. amy: that was an option. brian: when did you give that up degree? and why? amy: that was a long time ago. it is hard for me to reconstruct exactly why. i think the main reason is that i was temperamentally not terribly well-suited for the practice of medicine. you know, what you learn when you start in one field and and up in another is that the reasons why one feel this suitable to you and others may not be can often be a rather humble reason, like gesture personality or that kind of
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person that you are, what floats your boat, what you look forward to when you wake up in the morning, your temperament. i was not really a people person. i was more of an idea person, which doesn't mean that i don't which doesn't mean that i don't enjoy people. but i don't think i get the kind of pleasure and satisfaction from helping people that maybe we associate with the female persona -- that is a hoary cliche because there are many men who are that way and many women who are not. so i found that law was more compelling and satisfying for
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me. it is interesting because it helps me advise young people that i have done both things, young people who are trying to decide, often grappling with decisions about which direction they should go in. in many cases, it is under parental pressure. there is familial and parental parental pressure. pressure to enter one field rather than the other, something that i, myself, felt when i was younger. so i am entirely sympathetic to what they are going through and i try to help them make the decision by asking some very simple questions about themselves, and what they like, what they enjoy, moment by moment, day by day, our right our. and every field involves -- hour by hour. and every field involves its tedium. which irritations you find the
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least irritating? and what compensation do you find more compensating? i think 20, 21-year-olds are not always equipped to make those decisions. brian: so you got your medical degree from? amy: harvard. brian: did you ever practice? amy: i did a residency in urology. -- in neurology. i faced the challenge of pay my tuition. then this period of excluding tuition started to take off. you are probably aware that the
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cost of higher education has increased dramatically. brooklyn already in the 1980'sd hmo's, some of the fledgling hmo's to put myself through finish columbia law school. brian: your degree in law is from columbia? amy: yes, i transferred to columbia because i would -- i had married someone working in new york at the time. brian: what was your experience being a clerk for admiral meckler and counselor to bill clinton? amy: it was wonderful. he is a terrific person, a great judge, was very nice to his clerks.
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judges and clerks didn't really have to match up, there was no feeling that clerks had to be on the same page, have the same ideas. the notion was law was this autonomous field that should be depoliticized as much as possible and that was the right way to do it. and i along just fine enjoyed that experience. that was the year actually that
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bork was nominated and was going through his hearings and little known fact that bork, who was on the d.c. circuit judge the time, they were both on the same court was still hearing cases, were very close friends. they had gone to law school together at chicago so bork was frequently in the office. the clerks were not privy to these conversations, but it was striking that they clearly were very close friends and robert his wisdomd him for and acumen and advice. brian: how did you get your job in the solicitor general's office under which president? amy: it was reagan and charles friede was the solicitor general at the time.
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it was near the ends his 10 years that i was hired. i had lucked into a summer internship at the solicitor general's office while at columbia law school. i had a professor who was a visiting professor from chicago, he is rather famous and i had taken a couple of courses with him. he had said to me, it is clear you love to argue. he said, you should really think about doing an internship at the justice department and the solicitor general's office because the solicitor general is the master litigator for the united states government and everybody in the office is devoted to that mission and i applied and i got the job. so i spent a summer there at the sg's office. i got to know charles friede, people in the office, and they asked me to come back on the permanent staff after my
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clerkship was over. it was quite a challenge because i was very green. i was a newly minted lawyer. i really did not have a lot of experience. i did not have any litigation experience so it was a little reckless on charles friede's part, but i learned the ropes. i argued 15 cases before the court during my tenure there. and participated in all the activities and it was the most wonderful, best years of my life. i can honestly say that. the people were really wonderful all around. they were the smartest people i have ever worked with. they were people of very high integrity. the office has a collegial .tmosphere like none other we are all involved in a mutual endeavor, to do our very best
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for the government before the supreme court. the supreme court trusts the solicitor general's office and the office tries to repay that high trust and i think they do. times you argued before the supreme court, do you remember the first time in what was it like? amy: yes, i do. it was actually quite exhilarating, i think because it is a grand privilege to argue before the supreme court, not very many people get to do it. it was a rather humble case involving a technical question of social security benefits and how the government collects and refunds social security benefits.
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you have to turn your head and make sure you are monitoring the situation and really, it is a performance. that is the other thing you realize, it is a great training ground for any kind of performance you will ever have to deliver and anything in your past life that involves preparation for it. when i was an adolescent and in high school, i was on the pno competition -- piano competition tocuit, good enough
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participate in these competitions and occasionally i drew onetition and that experience the most, i think in preparing to argue before the supreme court because ofre is this trajectory focus, concentration, preparation of developing knowledge and expertise about getting comfortable with what of are about to do that foresight and forethought that is really a common feature among any kind of performance you are preparing for and planning. you are supposed to sound spontaneous, but if you have not planned every answer to every question, if you are at all surprised, you have fallen short in your preparation to argue
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before the supreme court. brian: how long have you been teaching at the university of pennsylvania? amy: since 2001. brian: where is it? amy: it is in philadelphia. actually in west philadelphia. it is a private university in west philadelphia. amy: considered one of the iv leaks? -- considered one of the ivy leaques. school,is an ivy league yes. likenk it is something maybe 700, 600, that may not be quite accurate. that is my guess. for professors, we have a relatively small faculty. i think we have 50 10-year or tenure-track full-time faculty and many adjuncts. many people from the community, the law community in philly,
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which is quite a distinguished one teaching part-time various courses that are law school. brian: with that background, let me get to the reason we asked you to come talk. this is march 18, 2018, this year. it is written by heather mcdonald with the manhattan institute and the headlight on penn law school mob scores a victory." the campus mob has scored a hit. professor amy wax will no longer be recorded -- allowed to teach required first-year courses, the school dean announced last week. what is that about? amy: there is a whole saga that leads up to it. i could try to give you the short form. i still haven't figured it all out entirely because i think it ties into some broader themes of
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what is happening to our society generally and to the university sector in particular. i think it all began back last august ninth when i co-published inittle in oculus op-ed -- oculus op-ed or so i regarded it . in it, my co-author larry alexander and i talked about this bourgeois script that i've mentioned to you, some basic precepts of behavior, and have -- how the loss of common fealty and adherence to those behaviors as the hallmark of mature adulthood which we have identified as taking place over the past or the -- 30 or 40 years in our country and the concomitant resulting change in our behavior we thought
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inflicted some damage on our country not being the only thing that happened, but something in effectmportant that standards of behavior had that all of us were paying the price for that in various ways and some of the behavior we talked about was resplendent -- respect for law -- certainly saw a tremendous surge in the 60's -- 1960's and 1970's to higher levels that had prevailed before . the lower work effort being put in by some members of the society such as prime age men, breakdown in the family that quartersdren in some most children are born out of
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families.ot in intact that people have used profanity quite liberally and patriotism that there ision an adversarial relationship very often between employers and employees and we sort of made a list and we should have added the decline in thrift and legality, which is quite dramatic and all of these put together -- we have taken a hit from it. say you first published it in the philadelphia inquirer. when did it surface again? amy: we also said in that piece and i think this is what ruffled a lot of people, that not all cultures are alike. we were trying to tout this code of behavior as being one that was particular functional and suited to our current technological democratic populist -- democratic
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capitalist society and comparing it to other cultures which aren't as functional and we gave some examples and that immediately caused a firestorm the very next day. there were protests and petitions, social media really contributed so much to this, i think. people were going to my dean and objecting and saying this was racist,premacist talk, xena phobic, putting al qaeda labels on it. a group of graduate students -- putting all kinds of labels on it, condemning the op-ed as unacceptable and injurious and harmful and racist.
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the functional superiority of it is measured by the fact that everybody wants to live in europe, migrants flock to europe, not to venezuela or southeast asia, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. we have discovered something. we worked something out which works well and this came out as europeans are superior because migrants want to go to europe which is not that far from what i was saying, but many people
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found extremely offensive in the current climate. as my husband said, you pushed the western civ button. what i learned is one is not allowed to praise the achievements of the west. suspect moveme a in the intellectual game and that is what people objected to as far as i could tell. i mean, i am not entirely sure because i am not of that mindset. brian: this is back in august 2017. i am looking at the daily pennsylvanian and there is a dorothy roberts, sarah barringer serena, sophia, tobias barrington wolff. who are they? amy: they are my colleagues and
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there were multiple pieces published and letters and protests published. that piece was actually an attempt by four historians on the faculty to write a substantive response to our peace. i did not object to that piece. i did not agree with it at all, i thought the argument was transparently fallacious, but they argued that praising boardwalk culture and the 1950's, which was the -- aardwalk -- bush was cash they objected to that. their argument was you cannot praise the 50's because the 50's were a time of patriarchy, ofism, sexism, mistreatment minorities, terrible things happened during the 1950's, discrimination was rampant and
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ergo, there was nothing good about it. nonnsidered that a complete sequitur and they seemed to be making an argument like the only reason the 1950's were good for the people it was good for because they missed treated all these other people, which is a very strange argument to make. if we stop miss people, things won't be as good? i don't know what they were trying to get at. they: let me read what said, some of what they said. nostalgia for the 1950's breezes over the truth of inequality and exclusion. the rasul discrimination and the -- racial discrimination the authors identify as imperfections in mid century american life were core features of it, exclusion and discrimination against people of color was the norm, north and south. during this period homeownership, high quality education, jobs with fair pay
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and decent working conditions and the social insurance benefits of the new deal welfare state remained unavailable by demand -- designed to most nonwhite americans. amy: as a factual the fiction of the 1950's, that is accurate and we said in our op-ed that there were detriments, there were flaws in that period which have since been corrected. what they seem to be saying, which i disagree with, is that those were poor in the sense bourgoiseoardwalk -- values and the ability and willingness to practice bourgeois virtues were dependent on keeping all of these people down. and that is a very odd argument and i don't agree with it. the virtues of the period and the vices of the period were not inextricably linked in the way that, that piece suggests. it is entirely possible, in my mind, to revive and practice
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some of the virtuous behaviors and cycles that we associate with the 1950's without attaching to it the kind of discrimination, inequality, and bigotry that the period also exemplified and you can point to an example. let's take an example. just in the area of family breakdown. the upper middle class today, whites, asians mainly because minorities have always had effectfamilies, they, in , have 1950's type family patterns. the 1960's, but they are married at a very high rate and marriages endure. there children grow up disproportionately in two-parent families and they are highly
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conventional in the way they conduct family lives relivto the rest of society. they are kind of this little bashed in of the 1950's -- bas the 1950's. in diversity and on board, they are with the abolition of all forms of nefarious discrimination and sexism that we have effectuated both culturally and legally. that is an example of being able to have it both ways. i think this op-ed is saying you cannot have it both ways. why not? brian: after the university of pennsylvania newspaper published these stories, when did it hit the wall street journal? they published your remarks there. them. wrote an op-ed for it was a couple of months after this initially unfolded.
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likehappened was it spread wildfire. a lot of people wrote about it. there were a lot of comments. there was a very critical event, which was something of a watershed, which was that 33 of my colleagues at penn law signed a letter also in the school newspaper, the daily pennsylvanian condemning and , categorically rejecting all of my claims and statements, condemning everything that i had said, i guess, in this op-ed and subsequently, categorically rejecting everything i said. no argument, no reasons given, no logic to it, just an outright bald condemnation and categorical rejection. brian: 33. amy: 33. and it was instigated by one person in particular. and i really acted -- reacted to
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that very negatively. i thought this was a fundamental betrayal of academic values. i don't use the term free speech because i think that is the wrong term. it is the wrong term for a number of reasons. first of all, the free speech rights we all value so much do not apply against private institutions and people forget that. congress shall make no law and public institutions at -- have to it here to a free speech code. private institutions can fire you for saying whatever they want. the railroad has been run. we have this employment technically, i have no at will. technically, i have no free-speech rights. i have tenure. that is something different. they have the free-speech right to categorically reject all my claims and the students have the right to call me a racist and a sexist and a xenophobe and a white supremacist.
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this is not a matter of rights. brian: what happened on a personal basis after this happened? what was it like in the hallways of penn law school for you? all thehink, first of who signed it didn't necessarily treat me in a friendly way. is that none of them came to talk to me about why they signed it. after it was released, it was released with a very little notice to me. it was all done in secrecy. there was not any forthrightness about it. was formulated and circulated in a way that was designed to keep me from knowing about it so that, in itself, is telling and after it was
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one or two people, one person came to explain to me why he signed it. it became immediately apparent that he did not really categorically reject all my claims. disagree withlly every darned thing we had said in the op-ed. how could they? if they raised their own children this way. the hypocrisy here is stunning. the inconsistency here is incredible, but one person came and said what you said was sort of nazi-talk. these are crude rationales for signing a condemnation. brian: what about the professor you ran into, i saw in one of the articles, after the summer and he asked what kind of summer did you have in you could tell that story. condemnation and a number of conversations i had withthe few conversations
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people on the faculty that were very hostile, very negative towards what i had written, i decided that i would write a piece for the wall street journal. i initially gave it as a speech to hillsdale college, they have a center here. they asked me to give a talk and i recounted my experience and why i thought people had behaved inappropriately in an academic setting given what the academy is supposed to stand for and how they are supposed to conduct themselves. this whole saga fell far short of that standard. someone who read that piece scented to the wall street journal and said he really should publish this because it is a very down-to-earth blow-by-blow particularized account of what is going on all around the country, the kinds of responses, unorthodox, what is
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considered a deviation from the progressive catechism, i guess you could say the dogma, the politically correct mind, what kind of response it elicits nowadays more and more. so i wrote this piece for the wall street journal and i recounted my experiences surrounding this op-ed and the responses i had gotten and some of the stories i told, the few conversations i had with my colleagues. one involved going up to a colleague in the street the summer immediately after i published this a few weeks later and greeting him and him giving me a hostile look anna saying, well, actually, my summer has been terrible and i said why? and he said, because of you, because of your op-ed and what you wrote, which i consider an attack on our school, an attack on our students.
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this language of attack, of harm, of damage that by expressing an opinion that people don't like you have , inflicted an injury. i found that very striking and , frankly, rather frightening if the truth be told and quite emblematic of the way the left is now responding to any sort of dissent, and especially one that trenches on identity grievance politics, which of course is everywhere and has infected everything. brian: go back to the dean. what kind of power does the dean have? amy: his response to the op-ed was to immediately announce through his spokesperson that my opinions were not endorsed by the law school, which should be understood. and also, he saw fit to publish his own op-ed saying we -- i
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reject the position that one culture is better than all others, which is completely unresponsive to what we said anna distortion of what we said. that has been the hallmark of this entire saga, selective quotation, distortion, restatement, dishonesty of that sort. but in terms of his power, he has the power to assign courses to me and control what i teach and my schedule and the like. he has a fair amount of power to control my professional life. what he does not have the power to do is fire me entirely because i have tenure. and according to the rules of the professional organization that we are a member of, i guess the american university
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professors society, the association of american law schools, and all of these, i have to continue to be employed and i have to continue to be paid my salary, at least my base a salary. and the only grounds on which i can be fired, i think, are professional misconduct, egregious professional misconduct or various forms of criminal behavior. brian: so what did he do? how did he level a penalty on you? you amy: well, in the immediate and aftermath of my initial article, he resisted many calls to both strip me of first year mandatory classes and fire me as a general matter. i think the reason that mandatory classes became the pressure point is that student are assigned to a particular professor in the first year of
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law school. there is a fixed curriculum of courses that students have to take. they are basically told what they have to take and who will be teaching it. that is an exception to the rule in academia that students get to pick what they want to take and the like. obviously, there are requirements as undergraduates as well, but a lot more leeway in deciding who your teacher is going to be. wethe students thought should not be required to sit in this woman's classroom. students shouldn't have to be taught by her because she is clearly a racist and it is harmful, it is uncomfortable, it is damaging, once again, that language subjective, emotional , harm, trauma, this language that all the students have learned to use, all the psychologizing of pedagogy -- that is damaging to us.
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so a lot of pressure to take me out of the first year. he initially resisted that pressure, i think in part because i am a good civil procedure professor. i'm one of three professors in the university that have gotten a nationwide teaching award and something called the limbach prize a couple of years back. i get very high ratings as a professor and maybe that was part of the motivation. i don't know. but there was a denouement that the students, especially the black law students association really set their face against , me. they went on a trolling operation to look back through my entire record to find something that would get me removed or fired. and what they found was this five minutes of an interview i had with glenn lowry. brian: let's watch it.
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this is 48 seconds. amy: this was my fire a book -- firable offense. brian: glenn lowry runs this blog he has tv show. you were at penn? amy: i had been on it several times. brian: people can get on the website and watch any of these. let's just watch these 48 seconds. [video clip] amy: i mean take penn law school, here is a very inconvenient -- i don't think i have ever seen a black student graduate in the top quarter of the class and rarely, rarely in the top half worried i can think of one or two students who scored in the top half of my required first-year course. what are we supposed to do about that? really, you are putting in front of this person a real uphill
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battle and if they were better matched, it might be a better environment for them. that is the mismatch hypothesis of course. we are not saying they should not go to college. we are not saying that. some of them shouldn't. brian: what do you mean by better match? amy: i mean that their incoming credentials, law school admission test score, and gpa, that is college grade average, which are the main parameters and criteria that admissions officers use for law school admissions, and law school admissions is highly quantitative or has been until very recently, the minority students, the underrepresented minority students at top law schools, let's say the top 10, their numbers are significantly lower than the numbers of other students who get admitted and come to the law school. there is a gap.
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brian: when you grade somebody in your law class, in the old days they used to be blue books, you would write in a book and the professor would not know who it was. do you know? amy: no, in the first year, the critical grades and by far the most important grades, we have blind grading. it is called blind grading and that means the students are assigned a number and they write the number on their exam or blue book and i give an objective exam now. i found if i asked multiple-choice or shorter questions, i got the same distribution. that was a very good test of knowledge and how hard the student has studied and how much they learned. i have no idea who i am assigning a particular grade to when i assign it. i give it to the registrar.
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she registers the grade. then she unblinds the list. i find out after the fact who got what grade. at that point, i cannot change the grade. the reason they are unblinded for us, the professors, because -- is because we are in the position of being asked to recommend students to tell employers and prospective employers add judges and various organizations that are hiring these people how they did in our class. we have to write recommendations. if we request it, we have to request it, we are given their rank in class. there are some judges, the most elite and thought after, who want to know where the students rank in the class. brian: and the school does not publish the grades or the ranking of any of the students in penn law school? amy: they have become
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increasingly secretive about the grades. back when i was at harvard law school in ancient times -- the grades were posted. openank in class was information. the law review was determined strictly by rank and class. our grades were not confidential considered such. tore was no open effort disclose them, but people thought nothing of imparting that information. get glennneed to lowry's response to you in that interview. [video clip] >> do you have a racial diversity mandate for reviews at penn? amy: yes. brian: so you're saying that students of color that are in the law review are pretty much at the bottom at penn?
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a survey, inot done have not done a systematic study. the class is 89, 90 students every year, so i see a big chunk of students and i am going on that. a lot of the data is a closely guarded secret, as you can imagine. brian: what is the solution to what you are talking about? amy: first you have to decide there is a problem. brian: does anybody think there is a problem, by the way? amy: one of the distortions that came out of this tiny clip which , is completely taken out of context, is the conclusion that i am completely adamantly and totally against affirmative action and that i have some kind of crusade going about that. well, i don't. my attitude toward affirmative
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action, like any good small seat conservative, is it has pros and cons, cost and benefits. we are not going to bring about every benefit has -- every upside has a downside. my view is if we are going to have this kind of social engineering, which is what it is, if we are going to have this policy, we should at least be honest about it and evaluate it on the facts. it used to be that when people discussed affirmative action and thought about it whether it was a good idea or bad idea they , were pretty forthright about the facts. now they have doubled down and tripled down and decided that even discussing the facts, the actual questions of disparities
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of academic achievement going in and the resulting academic achievement that comes out of it, performance beyond school for affirmative action admits, that all of these subjects are verboten and to even talk about them is racist. involves you in this bizarre. we have gotten ourselves into denial as aon of test of moral virtue. this involves us in some bizarre contradictions. i've been talking about this around the country. on the one hand, every good person believes in affirmative-action. if you are against affirmative action for underperforming minorities, and we know who we are talking about here, we are about blacks, to some extent hispanics, because asians don't need affirmative-action, indians don't need affirmative-action, other ethnic groups are doing very well. because they are doing very well
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and in some cases, they are doing better than the majority white population on standard measures of academic achievement or it are talking about underperforming minorities. you have to be for affirmative action. if you get down to discussing why we need affirmative-action, which is that blacks and hispanics lag behind in test scores, in academic knowledge and academic performance, even mentioning that is dangerous because that is considered an insult to students, a denigration, putting them down, an attack, which i consider bizarre. it's not an attack. it's a report. and then, to talk about once they get to a very competitive institution, how did they do, is their performance catching up or does it continue to lag behind,
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does the myth of affirmative-action, which is the minute you get there everything is fine is it a myth or does it , actually occur, is their magic dirt for these institutions where we just bring people in and all of the deficits are erased? you certainly can't talk about that. it's weird that the dean says, on the one hand, everything she is saying is false. everything i'm saying is false? i have a whole filing cabinet of my grades in civil procedure for 20 years, and i will sit here and tell you what i said about the performance of black students in my class for the past 20 years is not false. all right? i don't know about the rest of the school. as i admitted, i am not privy to this information because it is kept secret. but on the other hand, he says, we don't keep records by race.
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we don't even have this information so we can't possibly disclose it. brian: do you believe it? amy: there is a contradiction and no one has called them on a -- no one has called him on this contradiction. brian: what is it you believe they don't know? amy: i believe they could easily compile that information. this fall, are you going back to the university of pennsylvania and what classes are you allowed to teach now? amy: the dean has not spoken to me since march 18th when he issued an email to the entire penn community saying he was stripping me of my first year teaching responsibilities. i have become persona non grata. pretty much. brian: why do you stay there? amy: i have a very good job. they pay me very well. the other reason i stay, you know, i get to write and think and i have a lot of projects
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underway right now. and there is a core of students i think i am very important it. brian: do you expect any student to boycott your classes in the fall? amy: yes, i think that is definitely going to occur. on the other hand, i teach two classes, one of which is a seminar in conservative and political and legal thought for which there was a waiting list this year. there are students at penn law who are hungry for a broader exposure to a range of ideas, which are more and more systematically excluded from the elite academy. 50 full-time the professors in the law school how , many of them are conservative? amy: at this point, conservative is a rather muzzy concept. brian: brian: how many are right of center? amy: right of center.
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maybe 4. brian: is there any concern at the law school in the dean's office about a balance when it comes to -- amy: no. i do not want to speak for the dean, but i would say that many people on the faculty think that purging the faculty of people who don't subscribe to hardline progressive ideas except maybe in the economics sphere where they are willing to tolerate a little more range of opinion, that purging a lot of so-called right-wing ideas is a great thing because those ideas are errant. they are wrong. and they are morally suspect. not only are they false, but they are immoral. this is a new era that we have now. opinion has become moralized.
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and dissent is a kind of insult or an assault or an attack. so we have a new rhetorical universe in which moralization and the language of harm has become the language of discourse and ideas. brian: amy wax is a professor of law at the university of pennsylvania. she also has a medical degree in neurology and all the we talked about today is online, you can find it through google and other paces -- laces, all your op-ed pieces and we thank you for being with us. amy: well, thank you. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] announcer: for free transcripts or to give your comments on this program, visit us at q&a.org. "q&a" programs are also
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available as c-span podcasts. ♪ announcer: next time on "q&a," mona cherub talks about her book how moderns: feminism lost touch with science, law, and common sense." the c-span bus is traveling across the country on our 50 capitals tour. it is on its 38th stop in juneau, alaska, asking folks what is the most important issue in alaska? >> what i think is the most important issue facing alaska right now is we are in the middle of a budget crisis. we are used to having a lot of oil money come in and as a result of lower oil prices, we are not getting that revenue, there are other revenue streams
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that need to happen, but it does not seem to be happening very fast and i think there are political reasons people are afraid about implementing taxes. without an additional revenue coming in, the alaskans are facing a lot of crisis in a lot of areas and one is the opioid and substance abuse crisis. the more our economy goes down, the more and more people get upset and aren't using their lives in a way they are happy with and end at getting destitute and turning to self medicating and that is a crisis. >> i think the most important issue is child hunger and taking care of children. it is all linked to poverty. 40% of child hunger food insecurity for children into state a few years ago. we went down and now we have gone way back up. we have to stop giving all our money to the oil companies and start spending it on children for the future. >> one of our big issues here in
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the states is -- industry, it is a huge chunk of our economy and growing by leaps and bounds. we are concerned about the ability to promote juneau at a nationwide level, especially for tourism -- from iar as i can see have been here a week in alaska and one of the big social service issues i see here is homelessness and trying to combat it seems to be an issue with the city since a lot of them are not actually seeking help. the ones that are seem to be moving from place to place looking for the different aid they can get. it seems like one of the biggest big issues is homelessness and how we can fight it in the state. our perspective, the most important thing in alaska
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is to get a long-term sustainable fiscal plan in place for our state which has ongoing revenue outside of our nonrenewable resources and really, primarily because we need to stabilize education. our educators need to feel that their funding, which is the constitutional duty in alaska, is stable so they can stabilize their schools and most important for all of us is to educate our students and the best way to do that is a stable school. announcer: be sure to join us at july 21 and 22nd when we will feature our visit to alaska. watch of alaska weekend on c-span, c-span.org, and listen on the c-span radio app. shortly, the u.s. house will gavel in at noon eas f

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