Penn President Liz Magill announced her plans to resign in an email to the Penn community on Dec. 9. Minutes later, Scott Bok wrote he is stepping down from his position as the chair of the University Board of Trustees, according to a statement from Bok obtained by The Daily Pennsylvanian.
The DP is compiling updates to the University’s ongoing leadership crisis from Penn community members, government officials, and more.
Dec. 12 at 10:43 a.m.:
The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees will hold a public meeting today at 2 p.m. It is unclear what will be discussed at the meeting. A University spokesperson told The Daily Pennsylvanian yesterday that the search for an interim president was already underway, and that Penn expected to make an announcement in the coming days.
The meeting was announced in a message to the Penn community from the Office of the University Secretary.
Dec. 11 at 5:38 p.m.:
J. Larry Jameson is a leading candidate to be the University’s interim president following Magill’s resignation, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. If Jameson is selected, it is unclear how long Jameson would serve for, and when the University plans on beginning its search for a new permanent president.
Jameson has served as executive vice president of the University of Pennsylvania for the Health System and dean of the Perelman School of Medicine since 2011. He previously served as dean of the Feinberg School of Medicine and vice president of medical affairs at Northwestern University.
Under Jameson's tenure as dean, the Medical School rose to No. 3 in Research in the U.S. News and World Report Medical School rankings, before ending its participation on Jan. 24 — three days before the deadline to submit data for the coming year.
Dec. 11 at 5:03 p.m.:
"The University's Board of Trustees is actively working to appoint an Interim President and that process is well underway, with a formal announcement anticipated in the coming days," a University spokesperson told the DP.
Dec. 11 at 12:25 p.m.:
The deans of Penn's four undergraduate schools and Vice Provost for Education Karen Detlefsen addressed the Penn community for the first time since the unprecedented resignation of President Liz Magill and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok.
The message to students Monday morning reaffirmed Penn's commitment to education and its student community, adding that "initiatives recently launched to address bigotry and hatred on our campus will continue."
"We will come through this difficult moment to welcome our next President and Chair of the Board of Trustees," the email said. "Moreover, we will redouble our commitment to ensuring that Penn continues to be a place where your intellectual growth is cultivated and where you are supported as a person."
Dec. 11 at 11:55 a.m.:
Penn Open Expression Committee member Claire Finkelstein said restricting speech was necessary to fight antisemitism on campus in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post.
Finkelstein — a profesor at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School — said that free speech has been “elevated to a near-sacred level” on college campuses.
Combatting antisemitism, and other forms of hate, Finkelstein added, requires “restricting poisonous speech” that targets Jewish people and other minority groups.
“University presidents are resisting this conclusion,” Finkelstein said. “Rather than confront the conflict between the commitment to free speech and the commitment to eliminating the hostile environment facing Jewish students on campus, many simply affirm their commitment to both or buy time by setting up task forces to study the problem."
Dec. 10 at 9:51 p.m.:
Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science Vijay Kumar addressed the Engineering School community regarding Liz Magill and Scott Bok's dual resignation "after a week of unprecedented national media coverage of Penn."
"These disruptive events do not change Penn Engineering's mission or our commitment to providing you with a high-quality engineering education," Kumar said in an email Sunday evening.
Kumar was previously appointed as a chair of a presidential commission to address the "interconnectedness of antisemitism and other forms of hate" faced by Jewish, Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab communities.
Dec. 10 at 2:30 p.m.:
Speaking at a rally against antisemitism at Rodeph Shalom Synagogue in Philadelphia on Sunday, Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro praised the work of students in Philadelphia who have spoken up to “make sure they were heard in the halls of power at their university, and leadership was held accountable," in what appeared to be a reference to Penn President Liz Magill's resignation.
“I have seen Pennsylvanians take actions big and small, and both matter, to combat antisemitism,” Shapiro said.
Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) also spoke alongside Shapiro, sharing the importance of calling out the “horrific evil” of antisemitism.“We shouldn’t have to gather on a rainy day in Pennsylvania to talk about antisemitism, but we must,” Casey said.
The remarks from Shapiro and Casey — both Democrats — come a day after both Magill and Scott Bok, chair of the Board of Trustees, announced their resignations from their respective positions.
Dec. 10 at 2:15 p.m.:
The American Jewish Committee said it respects Liz Magill’s decision to step down from her role as president, according to a statement yesterday.
“As Tuesday’s congressional hearing made clear, far too many university administrators have failed their Jewish communities, as antisemitism has surged not just on college campuses but across the country and around the world,” the statement read. “Universities are spaces that require free speech, and in order to maintain their commitment to the pursuit of truth, university leaders must do more to cultivate real conversations and disrupt anti-Zionist echo chambers.”
AJC is willing to work with university leaders and said that Penn will “require a clear moral vision and plan of action” for combating antisemitism on campus moving forward.
That must include, the statement added, efforts to stop “normalizing” calls for violence and genocide against Jews.
Dec. 10 at 11:43 a.m.:
The next chair of the Board of Trustees will be announced by start of next semester, interim chair Julie Beren Platt said in a statement to Jewish Federations of North America.
“Unfortunately, we have not made all the progress that we should have and intend to accomplish. In my view, given the opportunity to choose between right and wrong, the three university presidents testifying in the United States House of Representatives failed,” Platt wrote.
Platt — the JFNA Board Chair — described how a leadership change was “necessary and appropriate.”
"I will continue as a board member of the university to use my knowledge and experience of Jewish life in North America and at Penn to accelerate this critical work,” Platt said.In the announcement, Platt specified that she would only serve as trustees chair temporarily due to her existing commitment to a leadership role with JFNA.
Dec. 9 at 7:49 p.m.:
Roger Allen, professor emeritus of Arabic and comparative literature, wrote in a statement to the DP that Magill is an “obvious victim of Zionist forces currently enjoying an ascendancy in this country who have weaponized antisemitism.”
Allen wrote that while he did not initially approve of Magill’s response to the Palestine Writes festival, he is “both saddened and annoyed that she has felt compelled to resign.”
He added that an “inappropriately framed question from an ultra-right wing Republican congresswoman” during Tuesday’s congressional hearing has contributed to the obscuring of “the distinction between statements of advocacy and actions on campuses.”
“Universities are (or should be) places where there is discussion, debate, argument, and disagreement,” Allen wrote. “That seems to have been lost — I hope only temporarily.”
Dec. 9 at 7:27 p.m.:
“Far-right political figures who align themselves with actual neo-Nazis may use these resignations to repress campus protests against the active, blood-curdling genocide of Palestinians,” Hilah Kohen, a Jewish and Israeli-American Ph.D. student in the Comparative Literature and Literary Theory program, told the DP.
Kohen, who is also involved with the ongoing Freedom School for Palestine, said that the group will “continue to demonstrate and educate for all of our safety and against the genocide of Palestinians—no matter what far-right operatives or incompetent administrators do.”
Dec. 9 at 7:16 p.m.:
“I think anybody would have had a lot of trouble in response to this conflict,” College junior Daniel Lein told The Daily Pennsylvanian. “I would like to have a president who is more ideologically stable in response to conflict.”
Lein said that the number of consecutive statements from administration in recent weeks “shows that they don’t actually have a coherent approach to this” and are “failing” to balance too many opinions.
“I’d like to have a stronger president who takes a single response and stands by that response,” he said.
Dec. 9 at 7:12 p.m.:
The AAUP-Penn Executive Committee wrote in a statement to the DP that trustees, donors, lobbying organizations, and members of Congress have “repeatedly misrepresented the words and deeds of Penn faculty and students who have expressed concern for Palestinian civilians and criticized the war in Gaza.”
“These distortions and attacks on our colleagues have not addressed the scourge of antisemitism — a real and grave problem,” the statement reads. “Instead, they have threatened the ability of faculty and students to research, teach, study, and publicly discuss the history, politics, and cultures of Israel and Palestine. These attacks strike at the heart of the mission of an educational institution: to foster open, critical, and rigorous research and teaching that can produce knowledge for the public good in a democratic society.”
AAUP-Penn emphasized that the influence of donors, lobbying groups, and congressmembers over Penn reveals the need to “restore a strong faculty voice” in governing the University. The statement called for the University’s next president to defend “principles of shared governance and academic freedom.”
“[The next president] must correct what has become a dangerous myth suggesting that the defense of academic freedom and open expression is in any way contradictory to the fight against antisemitism,” the statement reads.
Dec. 9 at 6:54 p.m.:
"Like many members of the Penn community, I was surprised by the resignations of President Magill and Chair Bok," third-year Carey Law School and Wharton graduate JD/MBA student and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly President Michael Krone wrote in a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian. "I plan to monitor the situation as it develops and new interim leaders are selected, and I intend to work with incoming leaders to provide support to graduate and professional students at Penn."
Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m.:
In a statement, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League said that he hopes her resignation serves as a “wake-up call” for other college presidents.
"Campus administrators must protect their Jewish students with the same passion they bring to protecting all students,” Greenblatt said. “They can’t hide behind language coached by their attorneys & look the other way when it comes to antisemitism.”
Dec. 9 at 5:59 p.m.:
The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression released a statement regarding Penn President Liz Magill and University Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok’s resignations, writing that their decisions to resign “can be exactly what the university needs to restore free expression.” FIRE further wrote that Penn had “serious work to do” concerning Penn’s second-to-last ranking on their College Free Speech Rankings.
“Penn must now take a hard look at itself — from top to bottom — to learn what it can do to better serve the quest for knowledge, academic freedom, diversity of thought, and intellectual humility,” the statement read.
Dec. 9 at 5:57 p.m.:
Vice President of Israel Engagement at Penn Hillel and College junior Maya Harpaz — who is also a member of the University's antisemitism task force — said “I hope we can start to restore our campus community as a safe and inclusive place for Jewish students and all students from all backgrounds.”
Dec. 9 at 5:46 p.m.:
Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (D-Pa.) wrote in a statement to the DP that Magill’s resignation allows Penn to “chart a new course in addressing antisemitism on campus.”
“The Board of Trustees and other university leaders must ensure that Penn’s campus is a safe environment, not a hostile environment, for all students to learn without the specter of antisemitism, Islamophobia, or racism of any kind,” Casey wrote.
Dec. 9 at 5:18 p.m.:
College senior Jack Starobin, an organizer for the progressive Jewish group Penn Chavurah, described Magill’s resignation as “an alarming precedent” for the future of free speech and academic freedom at Penn and other higher education institutions.
“We've seen a successful campaign by far right congressional Republicans allied with partisan donors and political lobbyists to push out a president who tolerates if not adamantly defends the Free Speech of pro-Palestinian students, Starobin said. “We've seen Magill's administration caving to some of that political pressure by showing selective outrage on behalf of the safety and free speech of students who support Israel, but not showing that same outrage on behalf of the safety and free speech of students who speak up for Palestinian rights.”
Starobin further expressed concern about future censorship as a result of Magill’s resignation.
“As always, an infringement on academic freedom is not just an infringement on the speech of one particular group, it is an infringement on everybody because an institution or a government that has the power to censor or tamp down the speech of one group has the power to do it for any group,” Starobin said.
Dec. 9 at 5:04 p.m.:
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), the No. 3 House Republican whose exchange with the three university presidents led to national media attention and calls for Magill’s resignation, wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, “One down. Two to go.”
“This is only the beginning of addressing the pervasive rot antisemitism that has destroyed the most ‘prestigious’ higher education institutions in America,” Stefanik wrote.
She added that the congressional investigation into Penn will continue despite Magill’s resignation.
“These universities can anticipate a robust and comprehensive Congressional investigation of all facets of their institutions negligent perpetration of antisemitism including administrative, faculty, funding, and overall leadership and governance,” Stefanik wrote, adding that the “forced resignation of Magill” is the bare minimum of what is required.
Dec. 9 at 5:03 p.m.:
Penn Board of Trustees are meeting at 5 p.m. today.
Dec. 9 at 5:03 p.m.:
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) released a statement regarding Penn President Liz Magill’s resignation, writing that “she welcomes her departure from UPenn.” The statement further said that Magill had “three chances to set the record straight” in reference to Rep. Elise Stefanik’s (R-N.Y.) question about whether calls for Jewish genocide would be in violation of Penn’s Code of Conduct.
“President Magill had three chances to set the record straight when asked if calling for the genocide of Jews violated UPenn’s code of conduct during our hearing on antisemitism. Instead of giving a resounding yes to the question, she chose to equivocate,” the statement read.
Dec. 9 at 5:03 p.m.:
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) posted on X — the platform formerly known as Twitter — “Good Riddance!” after Magill’s resignation.“America urgently needs college and university presidents able and willing to take a morally clear stand against antisemitism,” Torres wrote.
Dec. 9 at 4:59 p.m.:
Harun Küçük, the former director of the Middle East Center and associate professor in the History and Sociology of Science Department, shared that he is “truly sorry” to see Magill go.
“I hope our Board will recognize her good faith efforts for our campus community,” he added. “Since her performance seemed unsatisfactory to many decision-makers, I hope our Board is able to find someone who can better address all forms of hate on campus while respecting academic freedom and freedom of speech.”
On Nov. 28, AAUP-Penn’s executive committee announced that Küçük had submitted his resignation from his position as director of the MEC. AAUP claimed that Küçük submitted his resignation in response to “inappropriate pressure from administrators.”
Dec. 9 at 4:58 p.m.:
Wharton professor Adam Grant wrote he "appreciate[s] her taking the right course of action today" in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
"No matter what title you have, once you’ve lost the trust of your followers, you can no longer be a leader," Grant wrote.