The University of Pennsylvania, one of the most prestigious Ivy League schools, has witnessed a significant leadership change with President Liz Magill voluntarily stepping down following intense criticism over her recent testimony about antisemitism on Capitol Hill.
Sudden Resignation Amid Controversy
Liz Magill's resignation on Saturday comes as a shock to the academic community. In her statement, Magill expressed her privilege in serving as the President of the University, "It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution,” she said.
Alongside Magill, Board Chair Scott Bok also resigned, marking a significant shift in the University's leadership. Magill's resignation was precipitated by her testimony before Congress, where she struggled to answer questions regarding UPenn's code of conduct, specifically about whether calls for genocide against Jews would constitute bullying and harassment on campus.
The fallout from this testimony was swift, with business leaders, donors, and politicians calling for her resignation. Aftermath and University's Future Steps Scott Bok, in his statement, acknowledged Magill's departure, “Magill last week made a very unfortunate misstep...
Following that, it became clear that her position was no longer tenable, and she and I concurrently decided that it was time for her to exit”. Magill will remain on as interim president until a new leader is appointed, and she will continue her association with the university as a tenured professor at Penn Carey Law School.
The university did not have a succession plan in place, despite growing calls for Magill’s resignation earlier this week. This lack of preparedness underscores the sudden nature of Magill’s departure from her presidential role.
Vahan Gureghian, a former Penn trustee who resigned in October over the school's handling of a Palestinian literature festival, commented on the situation, saying, “It was time for President Magill to resign”. Gureghian also called for Bok's resignation, emphasizing the responsibility of leadership in such situations.