Liz Magill, UPenn President, and Scott Bok, Board Chair, step down following a distressing hearing on antisemitism

The Resignation of University of Pennsylvania President: A Turning Point


In a shocking turn of events, Liz Magill, the president of the University of Pennsylvania, voluntarily stepped down from her position on Saturday. This decision came after Magill faced severe criticism for her testimony regarding antisemitism on Capitol Hill. The resignation of Magill was accompanied by the resignation of Board Chair Scott Bok. This unexpected downfall marks a significant moment for one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

The Resignation

Magill, in a statement, expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the president of the University of Pennsylvania. She acknowledged the privilege of working with the faculty, students, staff, alumni, and community members to advance the university’s missions. Despite stepping down, Magill will continue to contribute as a tenured professor at Penn Carey Law School. Board Chair Scott Bok also issued a statement, expressing his appreciation for Magill’s service and emphasizing the need for her resignation due to her misstep during the Congressional committee hearing.

The Impact

Magill’s resignation was not a result of a single incident but rather a culmination of months of controversy surrounding her handling of antisemitism on campus. However, it was her testimony before Congress that became the tipping point. Magill faced difficulty in addressing questions about UPenn’s code of conduct in relation to calls for genocide against Jews. This exchange went viral and triggered a wave of criticism from various stakeholders, including business leaders, donors, and politicians. The widespread demand for Magill’s resignation led to her ultimate decision to step down.

The Board’s Response

As news of Magill’s resignation broke, the University of Pennsylvania’s board of trustees hastily arranged a virtual emergency meeting. This meeting, originally scheduled for Sunday, aimed to address the situation. However, with Magill’s departure, the focus of the meeting shifted towards discussing plans for a presidential transition. Julie Platt, the vice chair of the board of trustees, was named as the interim board chair. The board’s response reflects the need for swift action and a clear path forward for the university.

The Controversy

Magill’s testimony before Congress sparked outrage and condemnation from various quarters. A bipartisan group of over 70 members of Congress wrote a letter demanding the removal of Magill and her counterparts from Harvard and MIT. Donors like Ross Stevens threatened to cancel their substantial donations if Magill continued in her position. The Wharton Advisory Board and former US Ambassador Jon Huntsman were among those who joined the chorus calling for Magill’s resignation. This controversy revealed the impact of Magill’s actions on the university’s reputation and relationships with key stakeholders.

Lessons Learned

This incident highlights the importance of strong leadership and effective crisis management in academia. Magill’s misstep during the testimony demonstrated a lack of clarity and sensitivity towards the issue of antisemitism on campus. While some defended Magill, claiming she was exhausted and misspoke, others argued that university leaders have a greater responsibility to protect their campus communities from hate speech. The response to this controversy should serve as a wakeup call for universities to prioritize the safety and well-being of their students above all else.


The resignation of Liz Magill as the president of the University of Pennsylvania and the subsequent changes within the university’s board mark a turning point for this esteemed institution. This incident highlights the importance of effective leadership, crisis management, and addressing issues of discrimination and harassment on college campuses. The University of Pennsylvania will now embark on a new chapter and aim to rebuild trust and strengthen its commitment to inclusivity and safety for all its students.

Read More of this Story at – 2023-12-10 02:54:00

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