UPenn President Resigns over Anti-Semitism, Harvard President Pressured to Follow Suit
“Dear members of the Penn community,” the University of Pennsylvania began in a statement. “I write to share that President Liz Magill has voluntarily tendered her resignation as President of the University of Pennsylvania.” The announcement went on to thank Magill for her service and wished her well. But why did she resign? The statement didn’t say, but all signs point to the pressure surrounding her record of allowing open anti-Semitism on Penn’s campus.
In a recent hearing on Capitol Hill, the presidents of three major universities were confronted about what they’re doing to protect Jewish students on campus. Magill was asked if she advocated the call for the genocide of Jews as permissible on campus, to which she gave no clear stance. However, shortly after the hearing, she posted a video to the University’s X account where she shared that calling for the genocide of Jews is not only harassment but evil.
Magill stated that she was focused on the “university’s long-standing policies aligned with the U.S. Constitution, which say that speech alone is not punishable.” She continued, “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.”
Harvard University President Claudine Gay and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) President Sally Kornbluth were faced with the same question, and both failed to unequivocally condemn anti-Semitism.
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik (R) asked Gay, “At Harvard, does calling for the genocide of Jews violate Harvard’s rules of bullying and harassment?” Gay’s response was that it depends “on the context.” When pressed to provide further detail, Gay refused to alter her speech. Stefanik added, “It does not depend on the context. The answer is ‘yes,’ and this is why you should resign.”
Stefanik shared that anti-Jewish hate crimes are the number one hate crime committed in America. She added, “Harvard ranks the lowest when it comes to protecting Jewish students, concluding, “This is why I’ve called for your resignation. And your testimony today, not being able to answer with more clarity, speaks volumes.” But Stefanik is not the only one who has called on Gay or any of the three presidents to resign.
Within a week of the hearing, privately-funded trucks appeared outside of the Harvard campus that read “FIRE GAY” as it played videos from the dialogue between Stefanik and Gay. Additionally, the board at Harvard set up a meeting to discuss the matter. According to The Post Millennial, “[T]hey are expected to discuss Gay, the hearing, and her fate.”
All three university presidents have since made statements that backtrack or add to what they said in Tuesday’s hearing, but Magill is the only one who has stepped down from her position as president of U Penn. The calls from both Republicans and Democrats for Gay and Kornbluth to resign continue, as many do not believe their statements to be genuine — especially when considering that many of these universities categorize any hint of “fatphobia,” “sizeism,” and “misgendering” as abuse, yet appear to tolerate anti-Semitism.
Author and Harvard Graduate Ira Stoll shared on “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” that he was disappointed in the testimonies shared in front of Congress. Aside from the lack of substance in their answers, Stoll noted the Ivy League presidents “didn’t seem to respect the congressmen who were asking them the questions. They seemed almost annoyed to have to be there as if they were more important than [Congress].”
Perkins, president of Family Research Council asked if the October 7 Hamas attacks in Israel sparked the anti-Semitism throughout America, or if it merely exposed it. “Well,” Stoll began. “These campuses, particularly the so-called ‘elite’ ones, have such a profound ideological tilt.” According to Stoll, that ideological tilt is what Stefanik was targeting in her questions.
He continued, “It’s just a far-left atmosphere, and we’ve seen that spill over into harsh, anti-Israel views and to the point of sympathizing with” terrorists.
“[T]he students at these colleges are getting the bad ideas from the grown-ups — from the faculty members,” he said. “The protests that broke out or the statements — the absurd statements we saw after October 7th, blaming Israelis for their own murder and rape and beheading — the Harvard student organizations put out this statement that that was all Israel’s fault. And, you know, Harvard-tenured professors, speaking at their rallies.”
Asked if there would be a course correction, Stoll replied, “Well, I’m a big believer in markets. And luckily, the United States has a fairly robust competitive market for higher education. … So, I think people who care about this stuff may look elsewhere than the Ivy League. They may go to the South to public colleges and universities. And also, there are constituencies applying pressure — alumni, Congress — [and] the faculty [doesn’t] want any outside pressure. They don't want any grown-up supervision at all."
“But, at some point,” he concluded, “trustees and government are going to have to assert themselves, or we’ll just see these trends continue.”
Sarah Holliday is a reporter at The Washington Stand.