UPenn President Liz Magill resignation In the time that Liz Magill was hired to become the 27th president of the more than 300 years old University of Pennsylvania 20 months ago she was considered to be an academic royal. On Saturday she was forced to resign in shame.
Born to a family that included judges and lawyers, Magill had spent many years advancing to the highest levels of academia. Penn was optimistic about Magill as she served as the provost at the University of Virginia, where she was a student at law school. She joined the faculty of law schools within a matter of days after working as a court clerk to the former Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Prior to her appointment as Provost of UVa she was the Dean at Stanford Law.
Her resume with gold plating earned her a job. However, it wasn’t equipped with the knowledge she required to handle one of the most significant problems at the university in recent history.
Here are the most important moments that caused Magill’s resignation
Key moment The key moment. 1. Palestine Writes literary festival
The Palestine Writes Literature Festival was held from between September 22 and September 24 on campus and was a source of controversy before it began. The festival, which celebrated Palestinian cultural heritage was never an event led by students although participants from UPenn and the Philadelphia region took part in the planning and participating in the event.
Magill and Penn’s leadership were met with massive criticism from prominent donors as well as members of the Anti-Defamation League about the guest list. The speakers were known for making antisemitic remarks — a claim that Penn’s administration accepted but the organizers and guests did not accept.
This festival wasn’t arranged through the institution. Even though the university released an official statement in advance of the event in which it condemned antisemitism. However, it stated that it had a duty to protect the free exchange of ideas within its campus.
Donors were in a state of anger. A few weeks later their anger towards Magill as well as the office came into a roar.
Key moment The key moment. 2: Hamas’ attack : UPenn President Liz Magill resignation
In the aftermath of Hamas its attack on the 7th of October on Israel the donors took aim towards Magill as well as Penn’s management. After another, a slew of big-pocketed donors retreated from Magill and demanded her resignation.
One of the first people to ask Magill to step down one of them was Marc Rowan, the CEO of the private equity firm Apollo Global Management. Rowan is one of the most wealthy university donors, also urged other supporters of the university to not to contribute money to the school.
Rowan was arguing during the period that he did not support Magill in no way because Penn was the host of the event and she was unable to firmly condemn it.
Penn’s top leaders announced on October 12, that the group was “devastated by the horrific assault on Israel by Hamas.”
“These abhorrent attacks have resulted in the tragic loss of life and escalating violence and unrest in the region,” Magill and Provost John Jackson, Jr. made in the statement.
In a defensive mode, Magill further distanced Penn from the event, and suggested that Penn and Penn should have acted more swiftly to condemn the opinions of the speakers.
Magill on the 15th of October stated in a different statement that she was aware of the “painful the presence of these speakers” on campus was for the Jewish community.
“The University did not, and emphatically does not, endorse these speakers or their views,” Magill declared.
However, donors saw Magill’s remarks as being too small, too to late.
US ambassador Jon Huntsman and other prominent UPenn donors shortly thereafter pledged to shut down their checking accounts to protest. billionaire Ronald Lauder, another prominent financial donor to the university, has threatened to follow suit in the event that more was not implemented to fight antisemitism.
Key moment Moment of the year. 3. Rising antisemitism on campus
As tensions grew over Hamas attacks and Israel’s guarantee of war in Gaza and elsewhere, antisemitic attacks exploded at Penn and college campuses across the nation.
In the latter part of Oct., Magill released a second statement in an effort to calm the nerves on the campus.
“I categorically condemn hateful speech that denigrates others as contrary to our values,” Magill stated. “In this moment of sorrow we must be mindful of the suffering of our fellow friends and classmates and acknowledge that our words and actions can hurt and heal our communities. We must seek healing by avoiding those who seek to betray us and instead, respect and support one another.”
Magill has announced the action plan in November, which was designed to combat antisemitism at the UPenn.
However, the following week, University of Pennsylvania police and the FBI together investigated an investigation into a sequence of threats to kill antisemitism emails addressed to university employees. Antisemitic emails were posted on the buildings.
In an email addressed to the campus community, Magill said she was aware that a few Penn staff members were sent “vile, disturbing antisemitic emails threatening violence against members of our Jewish community, specifically naming Penn Hillel and Lauder College House.” Magill claimed that the messages were aimed at the identities that the victims.
On the 10th of November on the 10th of November, the Brandeis Center, a Jewish civil rights legal entity, filed civil rights complaints with the US Department of Education, in which they accused Penn of creating an environment that is hostile towards Jewish students and not being able to respond appropriately to the discrimination against Jews.
“Penn has allowed its campus to become a hostile environment for its Jewish students as well as a magnet for anti-Semites,” the Brandeis complaint stated with reference to the larger community that surrounds the school.
In the latter part of November In the latter part of November, late in November the House Committee on Education and the Workforce invited Magill and two presidents, from MIT and Harvard to testify regarding the rise of antisemitism on campuses.
Key moment Key moment. 4: Testimony on the Hill
Magill as well as the presidents were in the witness stand on the 5th of December and were criticized in their responses to the questions of New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik about whether calling for genocide against Jews in violation of their school’s codes of conduct for harassment or bullying.
The school’s leaders have not explicitly stated they would advocate for murder of Jews is inherently a violation of their code of behavior. Instead, they stated that the implications of this based on conditions and the conduct.
The rage was swift and wide-spread.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro called Magill’s statements “unacceptable” and “shameful,” and Shapiro demanded that to the UPenn the board of trustees to meet and debate whether Magill’s statement reflects the beliefs of the university and the board.
Magill on Wednesday tried in Wednesday’s speech to clarify her remarks. Although she didn’t apologize, she should have concentrated her attention on her “irrefutable fact that a call for genocide of Jewish people is a call for some of the most terrible violence human beings can perpetrate.”
The public was not impressed. Stone Ridge Holdings CEO Ross Stevens who is a major contributor to Penn wrote an email to Penn threat to adopt measures which could result in this Ivy League school approximately $100 million should Magill remains the president. It was the Wharton Board of Advisors, composed of a mighty set of leaders from the business world, demanded Magill’s resignation immediately.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said Magill’s attempt to clean up her statement “looked like a hostage video, like she was speaking under duress” and asked her to step down.
A bipartisan group that includes more than 70 representatives of Congress this week wrote an open letter to the board members of Harvard, MIT and Penn requesting that Penn Magill as well as her colleagues from the other two universities to be removed from the universities.
The board convened an emergency meeting on Thursday, however, Magill continued to be the president until its end.
However, she didn’t last any longer. Magill as well as Board Chairman Scott Bok resigned on Saturday night.
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