UPenn President Liz Magill Resigns Amidst Controversy

(NewsReady.com) – A university president has been forced to resign after an appalling performance at a congressional hearing. University of Pennsylvania chief Liz Magill sparked outrage when she failed to condemn anti-Semitism. Her own university’s business school helped push her out.

On December 5, Magill and two other university presidents attended a House hearing on anti-Semitic hatred in US universities. During the hearing, Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) repeatedly asked all three if calling for the genocide of the Jews would violate their policies. None of them could give her a straight answer — and their evasions caused outrage.

Magill quickly came under pressure from conservative politicians and donors, with one donor canceling a $100 million gift — although he said he’d be willing to reconsider when a new president was in place.

By December 7, the Board of Advisers at Penn’s Wharton Business School wrote to Magill, slamming the “dangerous and toxic culture” at the university, and blaming it on the leadership. The letter said Penn “chooses to maintain policies that do not protect our students,” demanded the university bring in new policies that make calls for genocide unacceptable and called for new leadership with “immediate effect.”

Magill’s initial response to the criticism was to try to wriggle out of it. On December 6, she issued a “clarification,” having realized overnight that calling for genocide is against Penn’s policies after all. That wasn’t enough to satisfy her critics, though. With donor Ross Stevens very publicly withdrawing the $100 million he had granted the school to establish a new business center, and Wharton making no secret of the fact it wanted her gone, it was hard to argue she was the best person to lead Penn to a better future.

On December 9, Magill gave in to the inevitable and announced her resignation. She’ll stay in post until a replacement is found, but her refusal to condemn anti-Semitism has finished her career.

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