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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

Student opinions on Joe Gow’s firing over pornographic content

John Gaynor
Photo taken by John Gaynor.

Two weeks have passed since Joe Gow was removed from his position as the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Chancellor. Jay Rothman, the president of the UW System, characterized Gow’s actions as “abhorrent” and Karen Walsh, the president of the UW System Board of Regents, stated that the Board of Regents was “alarmed and disgusted” by his “reckless” actions.

The Racquet Press conducted interviews with student leaders to present their perspectives.

Anna Giese, a fourth-year student at UWL said, “I feel very conflicted because I know Joe Gow… He walked me to class one day two years ago and I think he is a really awesome human being.”

“Joe Gow is a good man and I do hope that he does come to teach… the way he talked about students makes me feel good about becoming an educator,” said Giese.

She thought that because he was not supporting something hateful, and because he was not discriminating against any group he should not have been fired.

Giese criticized Gow for using the First Amendment as his defense. She said, “We were told that we could not chalk the sidewalks of UWL because it was a First Amendment issue.” In April of 2022, an email sent from Gow said that chalk messages were removed because they were “obscene, lewd or profane, or messages that target individuals.”

“Not only that but also when looking at the protester that came in with very discriminating posters about abortion. He was allowed to stay there because that was his First Amendment right,” said Giese

Avery Winders, a fourth-year student brought up a similar argument. “Gow has displayed a pattern of picking and choosing when rules apply to his and his random enforcement of these policies [regarding the First Amendment]… Gow instructed the widespread discussions of the dean to be harassment and to cease because she was not a public figure… He stood down only when we threatened him with a statement from our student body regarding his suppression of our free speech.”

“I believe through his actions, Gow has seriously damaged the reputation and legitimacy of our university. He was in a position of immense power, and to walk around campus with that level of ego and superiority in the sense that no one will find out about his nefarious acts online is sickening,” stated Winders.

Winders continued, “I am in full support of President Rothman ridding Gow of his tenure and instruction contract, he is to start instructing during the Spring/Fall 2025 semester. If his tenure is not revoked, I believe students should protest because no state funds should be used towards his employment (faculty is paid by the state through Pay Plan) and his presence on campus will not increase the level of academia, it will have just the opposite effect.”

A petition on, which seeks to re-hire Gow has gathered 657 signatures as of Jan. 11.

Cameron Seebruch, creator of the petition explained, “There were a couple of different elements [to create the petition]. The first one was comedic. It was the first thing that came to my mind when it happened. It is a pretty good joke to put out there. Another element is that I do believe that his tenure should stay. The last one is that Betsy Morgan as interim chancellor is not something that I would look forward to.”

“It stems from the email that was sent out right after Thanksgiving break… It is just very rule-heavy, very strict. It doesn’t seem like someone that I would want as chancellor. Somebody who wouldn’t vest in the interest of students.”

The email Seebruch referred to was sent to students on Nov. 29 from Bestsy Morgan when she still served as provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs.

To read more about Joe Gow in past Racquet Press articles, click any of the links below:

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About the Contributors
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
John Gaynor
John Gaynor, Sports Reporter
Year at UWL: Freshman
PGPs: He/Him
Hometown: Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin
Major: Marketing
Minor: N/A
Other Campus Involvement: Running Club, Track & Field Team
Future Plans after Graduation: Work in the aviation industry
Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Walking near the river
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