Last Updated on December 10, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Title: University of Pennsylvania President Resigns Amidst Antisemitism Controversy
Subtitle: Liz Magill steps down after facing criticism for her handling of antisemitism at UPenn
Philadelphia, PA – Liz Magill, the president of the University of Pennsylvania, has announced her resignation following intense backlash over her response to incidents of antisemitism on campus. The decision was announced by Scott L. Bok, the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the university, who also tendered his resignation shortly after Magill’s announcement.
Despite resigning as president, Magill will maintain her position as a tenured faculty member at Penn Carey Law and will also serve as the interim president during the search for a suitable successor. This move comes after months of controversy surrounding her leadership and handling of antisemitism-related matters.
Magill found herself embroiled in controversy after testifying before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce alongside Claudine Gay of Harvard University and Sally Kornbluth of MIT. The trio had gathered to condemn both antisemitism and anti-Palestinian hate. However, it was Gay’s response to a question about calling for the genocide of Jews that sparked significant outrage.
Following the hearing, Magill and Gay highlighted the distinction between antisemitic speech and conduct, agreeing that the latter could be considered harassment. Gay later issued a statement addressing the controversy, offering an apology for her remarks.
Calls for Magill’s resignation swiftly followed the contentious hearing. The University of Pennsylvania’s Board of Trustees advised her to reflect on whether she could effectively continue as president. The pressure further mounted as several Republican lawmakers voiced their demand for Magill’s resignation and threatened to withhold state funding for the university’s veterinary school.
State Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill echoed these sentiments, warning that she would not support funding for the institution until Magill steps down. The political pressure, combined with public outcry, culminated in Magill’s decision to resign.
The university now faces the uphill task of finding a new leader who can effectively address the concerns surrounding antisemitism on campus and navigate the fallout from this controversy. The search for a suitable candidate will undoubtedly bring added scrutiny and pressure to select someone who can help restore confidence and unity within the community.
As UPenn’s reputation hangs in the balance, stakeholders eagerly anticipate a fresh start and renewed commitment to combating antisemitism, ensuring a safe and inclusive environment for all students, faculty, and staff.
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