Controversial Dismissal: Wisconsin-La Crosse University Chancellor Fired Over Adult Website Scandal

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  • Source: NY Daily News
  • 12/30/2023
Chancellor Joe Gow of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse has been terminated from his position due to his involvement in explicit sexual activities with his spouse on well-known adult websites. This decision comes five years after he was previously denied a salary increase for inviting a former pornographic actress to speak at the university.

Gow, who holds the record for being the chancellor with the longest tenure in the Universities of Wisconsin system, had already made plans to retire at the conclusion of the current academic year. In a closed-door meeting lasting three hours on Wednesday, the Board of Regents made the unanimous decision to terminate his chancellorship and subsequently placed him on administrative leave.

It is not evident whether Gow has violated any specific policies within the UW system. Under the existing policies, it is within the authority of the system president and the Regents to terminate the employment of a chancellor whenever they determine that it is in the best interests of both the chancellor's institution and the University of Wisconsin (UW) System as a whole.

In an Amazon author profile attributed to a pseudonym, it is stated that Gow and his wife, Carmen Wilson, have identified themselves as a married couple holding executive positions in two prominent organizations in the United States. The profile includes pictures of both individuals. Frequently engaging in civic and charitable events and making appearances in local media are common practices for them.

The books listed on the Amazon author profile provide descriptions that portray the couple as advocates of a "sex-positive" mindset. They aim to address and prevent the decline in sexual intimacy experienced in previous marriages. Additionally, the couple has collaborated with professionals in the porn industry to produce their own collection of high-quality adult videos.

According to the profile, the couple has uploaded videos to various well-known adult websites, such as PornHub and OnlyFans. X, previously known as Twitter, is a platform where users can create accounts and openly identify themselves. One particular account, belonging to individuals named "Joe" and "Carmen," has gained attention for their unique content. They host a personal show where they invite porn actors to join them in cooking while fully clothed. However, it is worth noting that their content also includes engaging in sexual acts that are typically found on subscriber-based porn sites. The YouTube account "Sexy Healthy Cooking" is where the pair shares their cooking show and engages in conversations with various actors, including Hartley in one particular episode.

In a statement following the meeting, UW system President Jay Rothman announced that Dr. Joe Gow has been terminated from his position as chancellor of UW-La Crosse, effective immediately. This decision was made based on President Rothman's recommendation to the UW Board of Regents. The university has recently become aware of certain actions taken by Dr. Gow, which have resulted in significant damage to its reputation. The actions displayed by him were considered to be morally repugnant or detestable.

After the decision made by the Regents, Rothman expressed his intention to submit a complaint to Betsy Morgan, who has been appointed as the interim chancellor at UW-La Crosse. The purpose of this complaint is to request a review of Gow's status as a tenured faculty member. Gow's conduct will be subject to investigation by an external law firm as well.

In a statement, Karen Walsh, the President of the Board of Regents, expressed her belief that Gow had demonstrated a lack of responsibility in his role as the leader of UW-La Crosse.

According to Walsh, the evidence of the outrage towards his behavior can be seen in the unanimous decision made by the UW Board of Regents to terminate him as chancellor. The actions of the individual in question have caused us great concern and revulsion. These actions, without a doubt, deviated significantly from what is expected of someone in the position of chancellor.

On Wednesday night, Gow expressed that he had not received an invitation to the closed-session meeting. He further expressed his concerns regarding his rights to due process. Additionally, he emphasized the perceived hypocrisy of the UW system, which advocated for the significance of free speech during board meetings, only to terminate his employment shortly thereafter.

Gow emphasized the significance of living in a country that upholds the First Amendment, which grants the freedom to produce and distribute books and videos that delve into consensual adult sexuality. The user expresses concern regarding a perceived issue of free speech, specifically noting that the Board of Regents is not providing support for this fundamental concept.

In December 2018, Chancellor Gow of UW-La Crosse was denied a pay raise that had been granted to 10 other chancellors. This decision came after Chancellor Gow had invited a porn star to the campus as part of an inaugural free speech week event. According to former UW system President Ray Cross, he expressed his belief that Gow had made a poor decision by inviting former porn actress and activist Nina Hartley to speak at the event.

In that particular year, Chancellor Gow found himself in a situation where he, along with another chancellor named Beverly Kopper from UW-Whitewater, were both denied a raise. It is worth noting that Chancellor Kopper's husband had faced certain consequences during that summer, including being banned from the campus and having an honorary, unpaid position revoked. These actions were taken following an investigation that had determined his involvement in sexually harassing female employees.

Gow assumed the position of the 10th chancellor at UW-La Crosse in February 2007, making him the second-longest serving chancellor in the institution's history. A search for Gow's successor has already been initiated by the Regents.


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