Joe Gow Hearing Day 2: Gow Accuses UW System of 'Egregious' Acts

LA CROSSE, Wis.—Dr. Joe Gow, the former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and a current communications professor, today concluded day two of his disciplinary hearing that will decide whether his tenure will be revoked. Gow and his spouse, Dr. Carmen Wilson, were outed as adult content creators in December 2023. He was immediately fired as the school's chancellor despite announcing his intention to transition into a communications professorship.

Gow's professional future is at stake as the faculty committee conducting the hearing gave no indication as to how they will rule. General counsel representing the Universities of Wisconsin (UW) System and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse presented findings of an internal investigation that provided evidence of Gow's alleged insubordination and professional misconduct.

"Dr. Gow just doesn't get it or is unable to acknowledge that his conduct has been harmful to this campus community and a distraction from its core mission," said university system attorney Wade Harrison in closing arguments. Gow's conduct, according to Harrison, includes the alleged use of university computers and information systems that violated the fair use policy against pornography. Throughout, Gow has maintained that his activities in adult content creation—an endeavor he categorizes as a hobby for him and Wilson—were protected by the First Amendment and have no bearing on any potential reputational harm to UW-La Crosse or the university system as a whole.

Gow said the administration's reaction to the revelation of his X-rated extracurriculars was "egregious." He argued, "They have led us in several unrelated directions, but ultimately they have taken us nowhere." Another element of the case presented by the general counsel for the UW System rests on concerns that Gow's continued presence on the UW La Crosse campus, if he is retained on tenure, would be a distraction that results in "reputational harm." 

“What is indisputable is that UW-La Crosse has not experienced substantive negative effects,” Gow declared in disagreement. “As we’ve heard, enrollment is stable, the budget remains balanced, and donations continue to flow in.”

Gow called interim UW-La Crosse chancellor Betsy Morgan as a witness for his defense. He grilled Morgan on whether she engaged with him, regarding his obligation by UW policy to cooperate in a personnel misconduct investigation, in a way that satisfied the requirement for cooperation. Note that Morgan was a witness for the university system during day one of the hearing, when she testified to allegations of Gow's insubordination stemming from an apparent lack of cooperation with the investigation. System policy allows employees under investigation for misconduct to have a representative or other individual available during interviews with investigators. Gow said that he was unwilling to be interviewed in person without counsel present. Reportedly, Gow fielded the assistance of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), but the group has yet to assign a pro-bono lawyer.

In light of these circumstances, Gow asked Morgan if his offer to provide written responses while awaiting legal representation satisfied the requirement of cooperation. She said it did not and declined to speak further on certain matters. It is worth noting that UW representatives, during the first hearing day, told Gow that he has a right to due process in disciplinary hearings but no right to legal counsel. Rather, he has a right to an accompanying individual, as noted.

The faculty committee is expected to render a decision by tomorrow. If Gow's tenure is revoked, he will likely bring a legal challenge against the university system. FIRE posted a statement on Tuesday saying that Gow's First Amendment rights of free speech and academic freedom are at risk of being violated. AVN's coverage of the first hearing day is available here

AVN has reported extensively on the case of Dr. Gow and Dr. Wilson since December 2023. Gow and Wilson have appeared in self-produced adult clips alongside top-rated adult talent such as Lauren Phillips, Sophie Marie and Nina Hartley. The couple also carved out a niche as vegan cooking influencers under the banner of "Sexy Happy Couple." Gow and Wilson also wrote books about marriage and ethical non-monogamy under pseudonyms.