Amid a firestorm she has faced due to her disturbing remarks at a Congressional hearing on antisemitism last week, University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill has decided to resign from her leadership position.
“It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution. It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn’s vital missions,” Magill said in a statement.
Scott L. Bok, Chairman, Board of Trustees announced the resignation on Saturday, saying, “President Liz Magill has voluntarily tendered her resignation as President of the University of Pennsylvania.”
“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 added.
Magill will reportedly be retaining her position until the appointment of a new interim president which is expected in a few days. She will also be keeping her position as a faculty member of Penn Carey Law School, according to Bok, who also announced his resignation in a separate statement.
Magill sparked anger among students, parents, donors, parents and a majority of Americans in general when she failed to explicitly say that calling for the genocide of Jewish people would be a violation of the school’s policy on bullying or harassment.
During the Tuesday hearing, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) had put the question to her alongside Harvard President Claudine Gay and MIT President Sally Kornbluth, asking whether pro-Palestine student protesters using genocidal statements such as “intifada” or “from the river to the sea” constitutes harassment or bullying.
Magill, as well as the other two leaders, fell short of a direct answer, telling the House that it was “context-dependent.” Gay, in her response, said that the genocidal calls only violate Harvard’s policy if the “speech crosses into conduct.” Kornbluth also said that such statements would only be “investigated as harassment if pervasive and severe.”
After the initial wave of backlash she and other presidents faced, Magill tried to walk back her comments in a video statement in which she directly condemned calls for the genocide of Jews.
“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,” she stated.
A Video Message from President Liz Magill pic.twitter.com/GlPE3QZU4P
— Penn (@Penn) December 6, 2023