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University of Wisconsin – La Crosse chancellor sacked from post over pornographic films made with his wife, reports say


By Melissa Alonso, CNN

(CNN) — The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System has terminated a 63-year-old university chancellor from his position after “discovering sexually explicit videos” he made with his wife, according to statements from officials and reporting from major media outlets that interviewed the ex-chancellor.

Announcing the termination of Joe Gow, University of Wisconsin System President Jay Rothman said, “In recent days, we learned of specific conduct by Dr. Gow that has subjected the university to significant reputational harm. His actions were abhorrent.”

Gow was being placed on administrative leave as he “transitions into a faculty role,” Rothman said in a statement posted on UW’s website. The university leader added he had filed a complaint asking for Gow’s status as a tenured professor to be reviewed, noting that an outside law firm had been retained in the matter.

Gow who, according to his university profile served as the 10th Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, said in statements to media outlets that he was being punished over pornographic videos he made with his wife. He has not received “due process” and the “books and videos my wife and I have produced are protected under the First Amendment,” Gow said in statement to CNN.

“Gow has shown a reckless disregard for the role he was entrusted with at UW-La Crosse to serve students, faculty and staff, and the campus community,” the president of the school’s board of regents, Karen Walsh said in a statement.

“The outrage over his behavior is evidenced by the unanimous vote by the UW Board of Regents to terminate him as chancellor. We are alarmed, and disgusted, by his actions, which were wholly and undeniably inconsistent with his role as chancellor,” said Walsh.

The statements from Walsh and Rothman don’t detail Gow’s actions or conduct.

But Gow and his wife, Carmen Wilson, said in interviews with The Washington Post and The New York Times they believe the ex-chancellor is being punished over pornographic videos the couple made together and suggested their free speech rights were being violated.

The couple had made such videos “for years” and had recently decided to release them more widely on pornographic websites, Gow told the Times. But the couple said they never mentioned the university or their jobs.

“We all should be deeply troubled that the Board of Regents is overlooking the fact that the books and videos my wife and I have produced are protected under the First Amendment as well as the Regents’ own Commitment to Academic Freedom and Freedom of Expression,” Gow said in a statement to CNN

“What’s more, I received no due process from the Board: I was not informed of any policy that I allegedly violated, nor was I given a hearing to present my side of the story,” he said.

UW – La Crosse had an undergraduate enrollment of 9,352 in fall 2022. The University of Wisconsin – Madison’s undergraduate enrollment was 37,230, according to US News & World Report.

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