University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned on Saturday in the wake of her disastrous appearance at last week’s congressional hearing on anti-semitism on college campuses. Magill appeared at the hearing alongside the presidents of Harvard and MIT, and although all three offered condemnations of anti-semitism on their campuses, all three struggled in the face of aggressive questioning led by MAGA firebrand Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). Magill, in particular, struggled to articulate whether calling for genocide on campus would violate the university’s codes of conduct.
At one point in the hearing, Stefanik asked Magill if calling for the genocide of Jewish people constituted bullying or harassment.
“If it is directed and severe, pervasive, it is harassment,” Magill answered, before adding, “It is a context-dependent decision, congresswoman.”
That response, which suggested to many that Magill was refusing to unequivocally condemn calls for the genocide of Jews, set off a firestorm of protest that built as the week went on. By Friday, 70 lawmakers, led by Stefanik but including at least three Democrats, wrote a letter calling for Magill’s firing, and separately other congressional Democrats called for the same. And on Saturday, the most powerful Democratic politicians in Pennsylvania, including Gov. Josh Shapiro, also were calling for Magill to go. With the threat of big donors pulling their money, Magill resigned on Saturday evening, and the university’s chairman of the board of trustees, Scott Bok, also resigned.
After Magill’s resignation, Stefanik celebrated by tweeting, “One down. Two to go,” a reference to the presidents of MIT and Harvard whom Stefanik also has demanded be fired.