Last Updated on December 30, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Former UW-La Crosse chancellor, Joe Gow, made headlines recently as he was unexpectedly fired by the Board of Regents. The sudden move has left Gow stunned and questioning the infringement on his First Amendment rights. Despite his personal creative works having no mention or reference to the university or his position, Gow claims that the termination violates his freedom of speech.
Expressing surprise at the swift action taken against him, Gow believes that the board is overreacting to the situation. He feels that there were no prior indications or warnings, leaving him with little opportunity to defend his position or address any concerns that may have arisen. Gow was eager to engage in conversation to resolve the issue, but unfortunately, the board did not provide an opportunity for dialogue.
Universities of Wisconsin President, Jay Rothman, has publicly stated his perspective on Gow’s termination. According to Rothman, Gow failed to serve as a role model for the community and mistakenly believed that the First Amendment grants him the right to say or do anything without consequences. It is clear that there are differing opinions on how Gow has fulfilled his responsibilities as a chancellor.
Prior to his unexpected firing, Gow had been planning to retire and transition into a teaching role within the university. It is unfortunate that these plans have been abruptly disrupted, leaving Gow and his wife contemplating their next steps. As they consider their options, Gow remains resolute in his belief that the board’s decision was unfair and that his First Amendment rights have been violated.
This controversial situation has caught the attention of many within the higher education community. It raises important questions about the boundaries of freedom of speech for college administrators and the level of discretion that can be exercised by university boards. As this story unfolds, many will be watching closely to see if there is a resolution that satisfies all parties involved.
In the meantime, the termination of Joe Gow, a highly respected former UW-La Crosse chancellor, serves as a reminder of the delicate balance that exists between freedom of speech and the expectations placed on leaders within educational institutions.