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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Joe Gow responds to being fired by UW System Regents

Joe Gow, Carmen Wilson and Nina Hartley. (Photo taken from Kung Pao “Kod” with Nina Hartley on the Sexy Healthy Cooking YouTube channel.)

On Wednesday, Dec. 27, Chancellor Joe Gow was fired by the UW System Board of Regents due to his involvement in the adult film industry.

In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, Gow expressed his singular regret regarding his participation in the adult film industry – That he wished he hadn’t self-censored that part of his life for so long. He feared that his secret would lead to backlash from the higher education community.

“I felt a little bit more open about ‘let’s raise these free speech issues and see how the board responds,’ and now we know,” he said. Gow believed that the regents would be more understanding of his speech due to their previous support of free speech in the past.

According to Regent Policy Document 4-21, the UW Board of Regents commits to academic freedom and freedom of expression. The policy states that members of the university community have the right to speak and write without institutional discipline or restraint, both as university members and private citizens. The UW System pledges to uphold these principles, providing the broadest possible latitude for exploring ideas and engaging in speech, writing, listening, challenging and learning.

“I would say that anything that I do or my wife and I do, we do as citizens in the United States, who have the freedom of First Amendment to the Constitution,” said Gow.

Gow said he does not see why producing explicit content is an issue. The Board of Regents never told him what policy he violated and he was not allowed to present his case.

“These are serious works [in which] we examine consensual adult sexuality, so we would think that would be protected by the First Amendment,” Gow said in an interview with WTMJ. “I’m very concerned that there was no due process around this, and what that entails is having a hearing and I get to know what I’m charged with and I get to reply and make my case. That never happened.”

Gow also said he never mentioned the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse or his role at the university in any videos and his firing violated his free speech rights. Gow believes that because they did not align themselves with the UW System it should not be held against them.

Gow was previously criticized in 2018 for inviting adult actress Nina Hartley to speak at UWL, costing $5,000 out of student fees. Joe Gow was reprimanded by the UW Board of Regents and denied a raise.

Hartley was involved in an explicit video with Gow and his wife before she spoke on campus. “We were talking on the set in between shooting, and she had indicated that she had spoken at Dartmouth, Harvard and Berkeley. I thought, ‘Wow, that would be cool to get her at UWL,’ said Gow in an interview with the La Crosse Tribune.

Gow said he was “treated very poorly” for inviting Hartley to speak and was coerced into apologizing and paying the $5,000 fee to Hartley for her appearance. Gow stated, “I found that very unpleasant and so I did not want to do that again and so this time around I said I am not going to cave into pressure from the regents and I am going to do the right thing.”



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About the Contributor
Easton Moberg
Easton Moberg, Student Government Position
Year at UWL: Sophomore PGPs: He/Him/His Hometown: Sheboygan, WI Major: Political Science Minor: Communication Studies with an emphasis in Interpersonal Communication Other Campus Involvement: NSO Eagle Guide Future Plans after Graduation: Working at the Capitol in Madison Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Eating lots of great food Favorite Place to Eat in La Crosse: Super Street Taco
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  • J

    Jon PetersJan 1, 2024 at 9:22 am

    Im reminded by that classic George Costanza scene in SEINFELD when his boss finds out he had sex on his desk with the cleaning lady. “Was that wrong? Should I not have done that?!?”

  • E

    ErnieDec 31, 2023 at 9:34 pm

    Whether the board had the right to fire him or not, doing it entirely in closed session and without presentation of charges or opportunity for defense is unacceptable. Gow deserves a do-over with due process. I’d also like to hear a full explanation from board members re: what part of his behavior was “reprehensible” and why. I’m not seeing any accusations of illegal or immoral behavior–is this just a firing for fear of embarasment, or distaste for certain sex practices?

    • J

      JerryJan 4, 2024 at 6:57 am

      UWL runs a daycare. Joe Gow represents all of the campus, including the daycare. It’s sick and wrong for someone in charge of a daycare to do this.