Joe Gow, University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

From November 2018 to November 2018
University of Wisconsin–La Crosse (Public college or university)
La Crosse, WI, United States

Identity of Speakers

  • Joe Gow

    Joe Gow is the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

  • Nina Hartley
    Invited for academic lecture

    Nina Hartley is an adult film actress and sex educator.


Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    University-sponsored lecture/address/panel
  • Incident Political Orientation:
  • Incident Responses:
    University investigation not issuing in sanctions
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • No protest Occured
  • Did not involve Speech Codes


Joe Gow is the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. On November 1, 2018, Gow invited adult film actress and sex educator Nina Hartley to deliver a lecture on campus entitled “Fantasy vs. Reality: A critical view of adult media.” Gow used funds from his office’s discretionary fund, rather than state tax dollars, to pay for the event. Nevertheless, the event landed Gow in hot water with UW System President Ray Cross, who told the chancellor that he will call for a four-year, retroactive audit of the sources and uses of Gow’s office discretionary fund, accusing Gow of “lack of responsible oversight with respect to the use of state funds.”

Defending her appearance at the school, Hartley penned a guest opinion piece for the La Crosse Tribune, while Gow also wrote an opinion piece for the local paper explaining his thinking. UW System Regent Bob Atwell’s guest opinion piece pointedly criticized Gow’s judgment and took a shot at Hartley: “Rebranding herself as a paid advocate for sexual health isn’t going to restore her surrendered dignity.”