UPenn president Liz Magill resigns amid backlash over testimony at congressional hearing

The University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn or UPenn)

University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) president Elizabeth Magill has voluntarily resigned from her post, amid backlash in the wake of her testimony during a congressional hearing on anti-Semitic harassment on campus.

UPenn Board of Trustees Chairman Scott Bok said in a letter to the school community on Saturday announcing Magill’s resignation as president that Magill has “voluntarily tendered her resignation” as president of the University of Pennsylvania but will remain a tenured faculty member at the university’s law school. Said Bok: “On behalf of the entire Penn community, I want to thank President Magill for her service to the University as President and wish her well.”

Magill said in a statement shared by the board: “It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution. It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn’s vital missions.”  The board’s executive committee also announced that Bok has stepped down as chairman of the University of Pennsylvania’s Board of Trustees.

Magill’s resignation comes as pressure mounted on her, as well as Harvard President Claudine Gay and Massachusetts Institute of Technology President Sally Kornbluth, due to their testimony last Tuesday in front of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce at a hearing entitled “Holding Campus Leaders Accountable and Confronting Anti-Semitism.”  After Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., asked all three university presidents if they considered rallies calling for genocide against Jewish people to be harassment worthy of action, Gay said the answer wasn’t cut-and-dried and depended on context, such as if the speech is “targeted at an individual.” Magill said it could be a violation of school policy if it was followed up by certain conduct, while Kornbluth such calls for genocide would be “investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe.

Editorial credit: f11photo / Shutterstock.com

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