Pennsylvania Reps. Urge Firing of UPenn President After Congressional Hearing on Anti-Semitism

Aldgra Fredly
By Aldgra Fredly
December 8, 2023US News
Pennsylvania Reps. Urge Firing of UPenn President After Congressional Hearing on Anti-Semitism
University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill testifies before Congress on Dec. 5, 2023. (Courtesy House Education and the Workforce Committee)

Six Republican members have urged the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) to fire its president, Liz Magill, over her recent testimony at a House committee hearing about anti-Semitism on college campuses.

During Tuesday’s House hearing, Ms. Magill declined to say outright that calling for the genocide of all Jewish people would violate the university’s code of conduct concerning bullying and harassment.

Reps. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), Dan Meuser (R-Pa.), Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), John Joyce (R-Pa.), Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) urged the board of trustees to dismiss Ms. Magill, calling her action “an embarrassment” to the university.

“President Magill’s testimony is a clear reflection of the pervasive moral and educational failures prevalent at your university and other premier universities across the country,” they stated in a Dec. 7 letter (pdf).

“Sadly, she has shown the university and the entire world that she is either incapable or unwilling to combat antisemitism on the university’s campus and take care of its student body,” they added.

In a video address posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Ms. Magill clarified that her testimony was focused on the university’s “long-standing policies” in line with the U.S. Constitution, which states that “speech alone is not punishable.”

“I was not focused on, but I should have been, the irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate.

“It’s evil, plain and simple. I want to be clear. A call for genocide of Jewish people is threatening, deeply so.

“It is intentionally meant to terrify a people who have been subjected to pogroms and hatred for centuries and were the victims of mass genocide in the Holocaust. In my view, it would be harassment or intimidation,” she said.

Ms. Magill also said that she and Provost John Jackson would begin a process to evaluate and clarify campus policy. “We can, and we will get this right,” she remarked.

‘Coached Response’

The war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas has exposed deep fissures in American politics.

Ms. Magill has been under fire from students, politicians, and prominent donors due to her testimony. Many students rallied outside of her office on Thursday calling for her resignation.

Pennsylvania State Sen. Steve Santarsiero has joined the calls for her resignation, saying that her “coached response” at the hearing had “utterly failed to express the moral clarity that the question demanded.”

“For that reason, I call upon her to resign from her post immediately. To be clear, I will not vote for any state funding for the university until she does so,” the state senator said in a statement on Dec. 6.

Wall Street CEO Ross Stevens said in a note to his employees that he would rescind a $100 million donation to the university if Ms. Magill remains as the university’s president, CNN reported.

“Absent a change in leadership and values at Penn in the very near future, I plan to rescind Penn’s Stone Ridge shares to help prevent any further reputational and other damage to Stone Ridge as a result of our relationship with Penn and Liz Magill,” he stated.

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, a nonvoting member of Penn’s Board of Trustees, told reporters on Wednesday the board had a “serious decision” to make regarding Ms. Magill’s statements.

“They have seemingly failed every step of the way to take concrete action to make sure all students feel safe on campus,” Mr. Shapiro said. “And then the testimony yesterday took it to the next level.”

An online petition demanding the university’s Board of Trustees accept Ms. Magill’s resignation due to her “inability to unequivocally condemn calls for the genocide of Jewish students and inability to identify these as harassment” had 2,500 signatures by Wednesday afternoon.

Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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