The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


The student news site of University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


UW-La Crosse Chancellor Fired

Abigail Shimniok

Joe Gow was fired from his position as chancellor of UW-La Crosse on Dec. 27, 2023, by the Board of Regents in a closed door meeting due to the finding of adult films featuring Gow and his wife, Carmen Wilson, online.
Some of these videos feature other adult film performers as well as recipes for vegan cooking.
Gow and Wilson have also released two books on adult sexuality, “Monogamy with Benefits: How Porn Enriches Our Relationship” in 2015 and “Married with Benefits: Our Real-life Adult Industry Adventures” in 2018.
Gow was previously planning to retire at the end of the 2023-2024 academic year and return in a faculty capacity to his tenured role as a professor. Gow’s termination also comes with an administrative leave for his tenured faculty status.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, when asked if he had any regrets, Gow stated he wished he were more open about that side of his life sooner.
He stated that after years of hearing executives in the UW system “profess the importance of free speech,” he decided to test them, stating, “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.”
This is the second time Gow has come under fire for combining the adult film industry with his career as chancellor.
In 2018, Gow was reprimanded by the UW system for inviting adult film star Nina Hartley to give a speech at UW-La Crosse using $5,000 from his discretionary fund.
He defended himself, stating he was looking to invite someone with a “perspective very different from our own and someone who wouldn’t be hateful and target groups … She seemed like a person who had a life experience dramatically different than the rest of us.”
Public response among students, staff and community has varied wildly since the announcement. The night Gow’s firing was announced, student Cameron Seebruch created a petition in support of Gow, which stated “Joe Gow should be able to continue his position at the university because the vids are low-key good. Please sign this petition to reinstate our beloved Porn Star Chancellor.”
According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Seebruch still stands by this sentiment, stating “I think most students would support him. One, it is something he did in his spare time. Two, it is funny and three, it is nothing too crazy. It’s sex.”
Seebruch was not the only one to show support, as students soon started selling “Free Joe Gow” t-shirts online.
Another attempt to capitalize came from the La Crosse-based 608 Brewing Company, which released a limited edition “Hot for Chancellor,” a fruit sour that has been approved by Gow himself. The bottle features a cartoon version of Gow running naked with a fruit bowl, cap and gown flowing behind him.
However, not everyone is as supportive. When the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel interviewed students, many stated that it would be awkward to attend classes he taught in the future.
The faculty and administration have also been silent about the ordeal. Instructors were told that there is no benefit to bringing it up, and if students wanted to talk about Gow to “do so briefly and stick to factual information.”
The only formal statement for the administration comes from Betsy Morgan, the new interim chancellor of UW-La Crosse. Morgan stated in her faculty welcome address, “This is what I know: The press will die down − it already is,” she said. “The jokes will die down. That has not happened yet. And we will all still be here, doing what we have always done: pursuing the education of students as our primary mission.”

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