University chancellor fired after porn videos surface

University chancellor fired after porn videos surface

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University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (UW-La Crosse) Chancellor Joe Gow was allegedly fired for producing and appearing in pornographic videos with his wife after the school discovered the content.  

Gow told The Hill his free speech rights were being violated after videos with his wife, former UW-La Crosse professor Carmen Wilson, surfaced and the school told him he was no longer allowed to be chancellor.  

The university put out statements from the president and system regent announcing the meeting with the regents and Gow’s firing but did not specify what Gow did to be terminated from his position.  

“Upon my recommendation, the UW Board of Regents today terminated Dr. Joe Gow from his position as chancellor of UW-La Crosse effective immediately. In recent days, we learned of specific conduct by Dr. Gow that has subjected the university to significant reputational harm. His actions were abhorrent,” said Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman. 

Karen Walsh, regent president of the Universities of Wisconsin, said the vote was “unanimous” among the regents and that Gow showed “reckless disregard” for his position.  

“We are alarmed, and disgusted, by his actions, which were wholly and undeniably inconsistent with his role as chancellor,” Walsh said.  

Gow said it was “quite a surprise” when they told him he was fired since he had a conversation with HR previously about the videos, saying the meeting “went well and satisfied their concerns.”

While Gow is fired from his position as chancellor, he is a tenured professor and still may be able to take on a teaching role, though the school could fight against it.  

“As a tenured faculty member, Dr. Gow will be placed on paid administrative leave as he transitions into his faculty role at UW-La Crosse. However, I have filed a complaint this evening with interim Chancellor Betsy Morgan regarding Dr. Gow’s status as a tenured faculty member, asking that such status be reviewed,” Rothman said. “In addition, an outside law firm has been engaged to undertake a fulsome investigation of the matter. We anticipate the complaint will be considered in the normal course as dictated by Wis. Admin. Code Ch. 4.” 

Gow said he’s also considering a lawsuit.

“I think people that care about free speech on university campuses should be very concerned about what’s happening here, and I say that because you’re writing books and making videos that are covered under the First Amendment and we have the protection of the First Amendment,” Gow said.  

He argues he should have had a hearing to explain himself before termination, telling the Associated Press that “when reasonable people understand what my wife and I are creating, it calms them down.” 

—Updated Friday at 11:04 a.m.

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