Home News Former Wisconsin University Chancellor Reportedly Fired Over Adult Content Scandal With Wife

Former Wisconsin University Chancellor Reportedly Fired Over Adult Content Scandal With Wife

by Talia M.
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Former University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow was dismissed by the Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents on Wednesday evening, citing conduct that allegedly caused “significant reputational harm” to the institution. The catalyst for Gow’s firing revolves around accusations that he and his wife, former UW-La Crosse professor Carmen Wilson, had been involved in producing and appearing in pornographic videos.

The decision was unanimous during a closed meeting, prompting University of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman and Regents President Karen Walsh to issue strong statements condemning Gow’s actions. However, neither provided specific details regarding the nature of the allegations.

Gow, in a phone interview with AP News on Thursday morning, defended his actions, emphasizing that he and his wife never mentioned UW-La Crosse or his role in the university in any of the adult content. He asserted that the firing violated his First Amendment rights, expressing frustration over the lack of information on the alleged policy violations and the absence of a hearing to present his case.

“I got an email last night saying I was terminated,” Gow said. “I wish I would have had the opportunity to have a hearing. When reasonable people understand what my wife and I are creating, it calms them down.”

Gow, who had planned to retire in spring 2024, now faces a potential review of his tenure. University President Rothman argued that Gow failed to act as a role model and contended that the First Amendment does not grant a “free pass” for university leaders to engage in any conduct without consequences.

Critics pointed to Gow’s controversial 2018 decision to invite porn actor Nina Hartley to speak at UW-La Crosse, a move that resulted in a reprimand from then UW system president Ray Cross. The regents had withheld a raise for Gow that year. At the time, Gow justified his actions by citing the university’s free speech policies.

Gow and Wilson’s adult content ventures include a YouTube channel named “Sexy Healthy Cooking,” where they cook meals with adult film actors. They have also authored e-books under pseudonyms, exploring themes related to their experiences in the adult industry.

As the controversy unfolds, Gow contemplates legal action, alleging a breach of his free speech rights and a lack of due process in the termination process. The case has once again ignited debates about the boundaries of free speech within academic institutions.


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