UPenn president Magill resigns in wake of antisemitism controversy

University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned on Saturday following criticism of comments she gave in a House hearing this week about rising antisemitism on college campuses.

At the hearing Tuesday, Magill and other college leaders controversially said that it would depend on context whether comments calling for genocide of Jewish people would be considered harassment.

Those statements brought her under fire from university alumni and Pennsylvania politicians, some of whom called on her to resign or be removed from the role.

“I write to share that President Liz Magill has voluntarily tendered her resignation as President of the University of Pennsylvania,” Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok said in an email to university alumni. “She will remain a tenured faculty member at Penn Carey Law.”

“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,” he continued.

Magill said it was a “privilege” and “honor” to serve the university.

“It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution,” she said. “It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn’s vital missions.”

Magill answered questions from the House Education Committee alongside the presidents of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), as Congress increasingly focuses on college campuses amid concerns of rising antisemitism in the U.S. amid the ongoing war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.

After her comments, a half dozen Pennsylvania GOP House members called on her to resign, and the state’s Jewish governor, Democrat Josh Shapiro, requested that the university’s board of trustees meet to discuss the situation.

“President Liz Magill’s actions in front of Congress were an embarrassment to the university, its student body, and its vast network of proud alumni,” Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.) said on X, formerly known as Twitter. “She has shown 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.”

The comments cost the university a $100 million donation, and garnered criticism from the White House. Former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman, a longtime UPenn donor, pledged to stop donations over the controversy and the university’s famed Wharton Business School also called on her to resign Friday.

A bipartisan coalition of more than 70 lawmakers also sent a letter to the UPenn, Harvard and MIT school boards on Friday calling for the removal of the presidents.

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