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University of Pennsylvania president Elizabeth Magill resigns amid antisemitic controversy
Photo Courtesy: YouTube videograb

University of Pennsylvania president Elizabeth Magill resigns amid antisemitic controversy

| @indiablooms | 10 Dec 2023, 06:58 pm

Philadelphia (US): The president of the University of Pennsylvania Elizabeth Magill resigned after her remarks on antisemitism during a congressional hearing on campus sparked outrage.

Magill refused to say whether students, who called for the genocide of Jews, would be punished, according to the BBC.

The university said she "voluntarily tendered her resignation" but will stay in post until a replacement is found, the report said.

She made the controversial comments on December 5 while testifying before a House of Representatives committee along with the presidents of MIT and Harvard, Claudine Gay, and Sally Kornbluth.

According to the report, they were asked by Republican New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik: "Does calling for the genocide of Jews violate [your university's] code of conduct or rules regarding bullying and harassment? Yes or no?"

Magill and the presidents of MIT and Harvard have drawn flak for their repeated statements that the outcome will depend on the "context" and for not outright denouncing any demands for the genocide of Jews, according to the report.

The congressional session was held in the midst of the broad college protests catalysed by the Israel-Hamas war and an increase in antisemitic acts on the university campus.

On Thursday, after the hearing, Magill issued a video statement on X (formally Twitter), apologising for her statement, but calls for her to step down have continued in recent days.

A major donor pulled out a donation of  $100 million (£79.3 million), saying he was "appalled" at Magill's comments, according to the report.

On Thursday, two Jewish students at the university claimed in a lawsuit that the campus has become "an incubation lab for virulent anti-Jewish hatred, harassment, and discrimination."

The chair of the Penn Board of Trustees, Scott L. Bok, confirmed Magill's departure.

Magill "will remain a tenured faculty member at Penn Carey Law" even if she will be resigning as president, the reports said.

Reportedly, trustees were scheduled to convene on Sunday to deliberate over Magill's status.

In a statement released via the university after her resignation was confirmed, Magill said, "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."

The University of Pennsylvania, also known as UPenn, is part of the elite Ivy League group alongside institutions such as Harvard and Yale.

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