Creating new perspectives since 2009

Head of University of Pennsylvania quits amid backlash to remarks on anti-Semitism

December 10, 2023 at 12:30 pm

University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill testifies during a House Education and Workforce Committee Hearing on holding campus leaders accountable and confronting antisemitism on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on 05 Dec, 2023 [Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images]

University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned on Saturday after days of criticism and pressure following her comments in a Congressional hearing on campus anti-Semitism, Anadolu Agency reports.

“I write to share that President Liz Magill has voluntarily tendered her resignation as President of the University of Pennsylvania,” Scott Bok, chair of the university’s board of trustees, said in a statement shared on the university website.

She will remain a tenured faculty member at Penn Carey Law, Bok said, adding that Magill has agreed to stay on until an interim president is appointed.

“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 said.

On Dec. 5, the presidents of three leading American universities — Claudine Gay of Harvard, Sally Kornbluth of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Magill — were at the center of a contentious congressional hearing on anti-Semitism on college campuses.

Bok, who also announced his own resignation in a separate statement, said Magill “made a very unfortunate misstep” but that she “is a very good person” and a “talented leader” and “not the slightest bit anti-Semitic.”

“Worn down by months of relentless external attacks, she was not herself last Tuesday. Over prepared and over lawyered given the hostile forum and high stakes, she provided a legalistic answer to a moral question, and that was wrong. It made for a dreadful 30-second sound bite in what was more than five hours of testimony,” he added.​​​​​​​

READ: Germany’s Muslims fear rise in Islamophobia amidst war in Gaza