The president of a top US university has resigned following criticism after a congressional hearing on the rise of antisemitism.

University of Pennsylvania President Elizabeth Magill stepped down on Saturday evening along with chair of the university’s board of trustees Scott Bok.

Magill was accused by Republicans and Democrats of being “evasive” in answers to Republican congresswoman Elise Stefanik about whether calls by students for the genocide of Jews would be termed harassment under the schools’ various codes of conduct.

“If the speech turns into conduct, it can be harassment, yes,” Magill responded, according to a transcript on Stefanik’s office website.

Stefanik went on to say: “I am asking, specifically calling for the genocide of Jews, does that constitute bullying or harassment?”

“If it is directed and severe, pervasive, it is harassment,” Magill said. “So the answer is yes,” Stefanik queried.

“It is a context-dependent decision, congresswoman,” Magill responded.

74 US politicians wrote letters demanding the immediate removal of Magill after the session took place on December 5.

Pennsylvania’s Democratic governor also called Magill’s performance “absolutely shameful” and a major donor said he would rescind a $100 million gift to the university’s Wharton School of Business.

Bok said Magill made “a very unfortunate misstep” and said in a statement published by student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian: “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.”

In a separate statement posted to the university website, Bok said: “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. On behalf of the entire Penn community, I want to thank President Magill for her service to the University as President and wish her well.”

Magill said in the statement: “It has been my privilege to serve as President of this remarkable institution. It has been an honour to work with our faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance Penn’s vital missions.”

Antisemitism and hate crimes targeting Jews have risen in the United States and on university campuses since the October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists.

Figures published by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) cited some 312 antisemitic incidents between October 7 and 23, 190 of which were linked to the war. By comparison, there were 64 incidents over the same time frame in 2022.

Source » thejc