UPenn's Liz Magill faces criticism over antisemitism testimony, - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

UPenn's Liz Magill faces criticism over antisemitism testimony, Wharton Board calls for change

Dec 08, 2023 09:46 AM IST

Controversy erupts at the University of Pennsylvania's leadership after a demand for change from the influential Wharton Board of Advisors.

The University of Pennsylvania’s leadership has been thrust into the spotlight following an emergency meeting of the board of trustees. The influential Wharton Board of Advisors, which oversees the university’s esteemed business school, has voiced a strong demand for a change in leadership. This development comes in the wake of significant criticism directed at university president Liz Magill for her recent testimony at a House hearing.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: Liz Magill, President of University of Pennsylvania, testif before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 05, 2023 in Washington, DC. The Committee held a hearing to investigate antisemitism on college campuses. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Kevin Dietsch / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)(Getty Images via AFP)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 05: Liz Magill, President of University of Pennsylvania, testif before the House Education and Workforce Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 05, 2023 in Washington, DC. The Committee held a hearing to investigate antisemitism on college campuses. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Kevin Dietsch / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)(Getty Images via AFP)

Despite the urgent nature of the board meeting, Magill retained her position as president, as confirmed by a source with knowledge of the meeting’s outcome. However, she is now contending with a formidable challenge from the Wharton Board of Advisors. Additionally, a coalition comprising donors, politicians, and business figures has emerged, collectively expressing disapproval of her testimony.

The controversy stems from a House hearing held on Tuesday, where Magill, alongside the presidents of Harvard and MIT, refrained from categorically stating that advocating for the genocide of Jews would constitute a breach of their institutions’ anti-bullying and harassment policies. They clarified that such a determination would hinge on the specific circumstances and behavior involved.

ALSO READ| Anti-Semitism on campuses: Here's how Harvard University became embroiled in controversy

Liz Magill faces significant backlash

Amid escalating criticism and calls for change, the University of Pennsylvania's President, Liz Magill, faces significant backlash following her testimony at a House hearing, prompting demands for her resignation from influential quarters.

The Wharton Board of Advisors emphasized the urgency for new leadership at the university, citing a collective failure to act in response to Magill's testimony. In a letter directly addressed to Magill, they stated, "“As a result of the University leadership’s stated beliefs and collective failure to act, our Board respectfully suggests to you and the Board of Trustees that the University requires new leadership with immediate effect.”

The influential members of the Wharton Board include eminent figures such as NFL owner Josh Harris, former Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky, and others. Expressing deep concern over what they labeled a “dangerous and toxic culture” on campus, the board urged decisive action.

‘No board plan for imminent leadership change’

Despite this, the University of Pennsylvania's Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting, leading to speculations about potential discussions regarding Magill's future. However, conflicting reports emerged, with a university spokesperson denying immediate plans for leadership change, leaving Magill's status uncertain.

ALSO READ| ‘I was ashamed,’ Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla condemns Harvard, MIT, Penn presidents' Capitol Hill testimony

“There is no board plan for imminent leadership change,” said the University spokesperson.

In the wake of the fallout from her testimony, Magill attempted to clarify her stance through a video statement, emphasizing the severity of a call for genocide and the need for policy evaluation and clarification at Penn.

Harvard and MIT presidents sought to clarify their positions, denouncing antisemitism and violent rhetoric, but stood firm in their support for their respective presidents.

Following this, a House committee launched an investigation into Harvard, MIT, and Penn's actions following the testimonies. Calls for resignations amplified as major donors, politicians like Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and business figures like Elon Musk expressed disappointment, with Musk describing the situation as “shameful.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, June 13, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On