The head of the University of Pennsylvania resigned after being accused of anti-Semitism

The head of the University of Pennsylvania resigned after being accused of anti-Semitism

The President of the University of Pennsylvania, Liz Magill, has announced that she is leaving her position. Earlier, she was severely criticized for statements that could be considered anti-Semitic.

On Tuesday, in the House of Representatives of the US Congress, Magill, together with the heads of several other leading American universities, took part in hearings dedicated to the growth of anti-Semitic attitudes in universities due to the events in the Gaza Strip. When Congresswoman Elise Stefanik asked whether it is possible to consider calls for the genocide of Jews to violate the university’s code of conduct, Magill declined, although Stefanik asked for a “yes” or “no” answer.

Two more representatives of prestigious American universities – the president of Harvard University Claudine Gay and the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Sally Kornbluth – also avoided a direct answer, saying that calls for the genocide of the Jews may not violate the code of conduct, if they do not go from calls to actions, and that similar statements can “depend on the context”.

This caused a violent reaction in the American and international mass media and in social networks. More than 70 congressmen signed an open letter demanding the dismissal of Magill, Gay and Kornbluth. Legislators speak of an “explosion of anti-Semitism” on university campuses and condemn the rectors’ explanations. A number of major philanthropists have announced that they will stop donating to universities.

After Israel began military operations in the Gaza Strip in response to the October 7 attack by the Hamas group, which is recognized as a terrorist group in the United States and the European Union, pro-Palestinian student communities in many American universities condemned Israel. In some cases, they called for discrimination against Israeli and Jewish students. Jewish students reported that they are afraid to come to classes and leave their rooms in campus dormitories, and universities do not provide them with protection.

The chairman of the board of trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Scott Bock, said that Magill resigned from the post of university president at her own request, but will continue to teach at the university’s law faculty. He called her statements in the House of Representatives “a wrong step taken after a five-hour aggressive interrogation in the Congress committee.” A little later, Bok announced that he was also leaving his post.

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