University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill’s job is increasingly in jeopardy, as donors to the university, lawmakers from both parties, alumni and Jewish groups come under fire after her disastrous testimony before Congress about anti-Semitism this week.
The Penn Board of Trustees will hold a meeting Sunday at 5 p.m., the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, where Magill’s future with the school may be decided.
The question facing the board is whether Magill can continue to effectively fundraise and lead the university after backlash against its handling of anti-Semitism at the school since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel. Pressure is mounting on Magill to resign after she refused to explicitly state that calls for the genocide of Jewish people constitute bullying or harassment under UPenn’s code of conduct during a congressional hearing Tuesday.
Magill, along with Harvard University President Claudine Guy and MIT President Sally Kornbluth, were summoned to court. Capitol Hill to testify about rising anti-Semitism on their campuses before the House Education and Workforce Committee.
74 House members issue letter calling on the boards of MIT, Harvard University and UPENN to “immediately remove the presidents.”
At the hearing, Magill told Congress that if calls for the genocide of Jews turned into behavior, it would be considered harassment, adding that it was a “context-dependent” situation that would constitute bullying and harassment if “targeted” and “pervasive.” And “severe.” Jay and Kornbluth gave similarly indirect answers that sparked widespread public outrage and led to calls for every university president to resign.
Magill in particular has received stinging condemnation from Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor, the Wharton Business School board and prominent donors, including an alumnus who threatened to cancel a $100 million donation to the school unless there was a change in leadership.
The Penn Office of the President and the Office of the University Secretary did not respond to requests for comment.
In a video statement posted Wednesday on X, Magill attempted to retract her testimony before Congress.
“There was a moment during yesterday’s congressional hearing on anti-Semitism when I was asked whether calling for the extermination of the Jewish people on our campuses violates our policies. In that moment, I focused on our university’s long-standing policies consistent with the United States,” she said. Expression alone is not punishable.
“I did not focus, but I should have focused, on the irrefutable fact that calling for the genocide of the Jewish people is calling for some of the most horrific acts of violence that human beings can commit,” the rector explained.
“It’s evil. Plain and simple,” she said.
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But the clarification did not satisfy Magill’s critics. Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro (D), who is Jewish, said Wednesday that her comments were “unacceptable” and that the school was under “failed leadership,” Jewish Insider reporter Gaby Deutsch reported on X.
The board of directors of Penn’s Wharton School of Business called for Magill’s resignation on Wednesday in a letter that cited her statements and a “collective failure to act” in response to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic protests on Penn’s campus.
“Our board has been, and continues to be, deeply concerned about the dangerous and toxic culture on our campus led by a select group of students and faculty and permitted by university leadership,” the board said. “As you emphasized in your testimony before Congress yesterday, university leadership does not share the values of our board.”
On Thursday, Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, threatened to withdraw a $100 million donation to the school in a letter from his attorney that said the university violated Stone Ridge’s limited partnership agreement by failing to adhere to its anti-discrimination commitment. And anti-harassment rules.
“Mr. Stevens and Stone Ridge would welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter further and give the university an opportunity to address what Stone Ridge believes are potential violations of the LP Agreement if, and when, a new university president is in office,” the letter said. He added: “Until then, there cannot be any meaningful discussion about addressing the university’s continued failure to respect its obligations.”
On the same day, the UPenn Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting, where some board members reportedly asked Magill to resign if she could not effectively serve in her role as university president, the Daily Pennsylvanian reported.
“If the answer is you can’t [function]“We need to know this, and you should resign,” the trustees told Magill, according to the outlet’s source who attended the meeting.
Then on Friday, more than 70 House lawmakers sent a bipartisan letter to the boards of UPenn, Harvard and MIT, calling on the three to take immediate action to remove the presidents of each institution.
UPENN board members ask chair to ‘resign’ if she can’t perform role effectively: report
“There is no context in which calls for the genocide of Jews are acceptable rhetoric. Their failure to unequivocally condemn calls for the systematic killing of Jews is deeply troubling. It stands in stark contrast to the principles we expect leaders of top academic institutions to uphold,” it said. In the bipartisan message. “It is difficult to imagine any Jewish or Israeli student, faculty, or staff feeling safe when the presidents of your member institutions cannot say that calls for the genocide of Jews will have clear consequences on your campus.
“If calls for the genocide of the Jewish people do not violate your university policies, then your universities are operating under a clear double standard.”
While Magill appears to be losing support from the University of Pennsylvania’s board of directors, the MIT board stands behind President Sally Kornbluth with “full and unconditional support.”
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Harvard University President Claudine Guy faced backlash against her comments on Thursday and apologized for what she said, in an interview with the Harvard Crimson.
“When words magnify distress and pain, I don’t know how you can feel anything but remorse,” Jay said. “I engaged in what had become, at that point, an extensive combative exchange over policies and procedures.
Amid the national controversy, Stanford University on Friday issued a statement unequivocally condemning calls for the genocide of Jews.
“In the context of national discourse, Stanford University unequivocally condemns calls for the genocide of Jews or any peoples,” the school posted on X. “This statement clearly violates the Stanford Core Standard, which is the code of conduct for all students at the university.”
Fox News Digital’s Adam Sabes, Eric Revell and Sarah Rumpf-Whitten contributed to this report.