Magill Resigns As UPenn President After Donor Revolt
Magill Resigns As UPenn President After Donor Revolt
It only took losing $100 million for University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill to finally be forced into resigning.
If you have been following this entire saga, then you will know that UPenn has had an explosion of anti-Semitism on campus that was met with a weak and tepid response, which eventually led to President Magill sitting in front of a Congressional hearing, being grilled about the bigotry being allowed on these Ivy League campuses (now being aptly referred to as the “Poison Ivies“). Magill did badly, to say the least, and she was weirdly smirking all the way through her reply to Representative Elise Stefanik.
Magill was forced into an apology video because she was attempting to save her job.
A Video Message from President Liz Magill pic.twitter.com/GlPE3QZU4P
— Penn (@Penn) December 6, 2023
Note in the apology video, Magill is not looking at the camera. She is reading the lines prepared for her. Her performance screams “CYA” – and donors began to respond.
Ross Stevens, founder and CEO of Stone Ridge Asset Management, donated to Penn in 2017 a gift that consisted of partnership units in the firm which are now valued at around $100 million to help the university establish a financial innovation center. Attorneys for Stevens sent the university a letter indicating the school violated Stone Ridge’s limited partnership agreement through its failure to adhere to anti-discrimination and anti-harassment rules. The news was first reported by Axios.
The letter said that Stevens and Stone Ridge “are appalled by the University’s stance on antisemitism on campus.”
It added that Penn’s “permissive approach to hate speech calling for violence against Jews and laissez faire attitude toward harassment and discrimination against Jewish students would violate any policies of rules that prohibit harassment and discrimination based on religion, including those of Stone Ridge.”
It also took issue with UPenn President Liz Magill’s testimony before the House Education and Workforce Committee this week in which she said that whether antisemitic chants and calls for the genocide of Jewish people are prohibited speech on campus are “context-dependent” and would violate Penn’s rules against bullying and harassment if it was “directed,” “pervasive” and “severe.”
Apparently, you can be a smirking bigot at UPenn just so long as you don’t cost the university millions and millions of dollars. Once that news broke, Magill’s days were numbered, and the school made the announcement today that she was “resigning” as president – before she could be fired.
The announcement came after days of intense pressure from Penn alumni and elected officials following Magill’s botched Capitol Hill testimony earlier in the week. After refusing, along with the presidents of Harvard and MIT, to unequivocally condemn calls for genocide of Jews, Magill reportedly faced the likelihood the school’s board of trustees would fire her as soon as Sunday.
“I write to share that President Liz Magill has voluntarily tendered her resignation as President of the University of Pennsylvania. She will remain a tenured faculty member at Penn Carey Law,” Board of Trustees Chairman Scott L. Bok wrote in a statement.
Bok said that Magill agreed to stay on until an interim president is appointed.
“It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution. It has been an honor to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn’s vital missions,” Magill wrote in a statement.
And then Bok resigned HIS role as chair of the board of trustees! He was a Magill supporter, as you can read in his complete letter.
Full statement from former Penn Board of Trustees chair Scott Bok, via an internal email obtained by @axios:
"Today, following the resignation of the University of Pennsylvania’s President and related Board of Trustee meetings, I submitted my resignation as Chair of the…
— Dan Primack (@danprimack) December 9, 2023
“Today, following the resignation of the University of Pennsylvania’s President and related Board of Trustee meetings, I submitted my resignation as Chair of the University’s Board of Trustees, effective immediately. While I was asked to remain in that role for the remainder of my term in order to help with the presidential transition, I concluded that, for me, now was the right time to depart.
Former President Liz Magill last week made a very unfortunate misstep—consistent with that of two peer university leaders sitting alongside her—after five hours of aggressive questioning before a Congressional committee. 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.
The world should know that Liz Magill is a very good person and a talented leader who was beloved by her team. She is not the slightest bit antisemitic. Working with her was one of the great pleasures of my life. Worn down by months of relentless external attacks, she was not herself last Tuesday. Over prepared and over lawyered given the hostile forum and high stakes, she provided a legalistic answer to a moral question, and that was wrong. It made for a dreadful 30-second sound bite in what was more than five hours of testimony.
I wish Liz well in her future endeavors. I believe that in the fullness of time people will come to view the story of her presidency at Penn very differently than they do today. I hope that some fine university will in due course be wise enough to give her a second chance, in a more supportive community, to lead. I equally hope that, after a well deserved break, she wants that role.
I likewise wish my innumerable friends across the Penn campus well as they forge ahead in this challenging time.
I will have no further comment.”
Looks like a housecleaning is happening at UPenn, and it desperately needed it. Representative Stefanik did not mince words on Twitter when she responded to the news.
Two to go.
This is only the very beginning of addressing the pervasive rot of antisemitism that has destroyed the most “prestigious” higher education institutions in America.
This forced resignation of the president of @Penn is the bare minimum of what is required.…
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) December 9, 2023
Harvard and MIT should definitely be next, but it will take the donor class to force the change. Money is the only thing that talks to these Ivy League institutions, and it will only be the loss of millions that will bring about changes in leadership.
But don’t feel bad for Liz Magill. She’s still going to be drawing a nice, tenured paycheck from the University of Pennsylvania as a law professor. Will the donor dollars come back if Magill still has a job at UPenn? We shall see.