Penn President Liz Magill will resign after less than two years as president.
Over her presidential tenure — which followed former President Amy Gutmann’s ascension to United States Ambassador to Germany — Magill oversaw significant levels of student activism and labor organizing, changes in undergraduate admissions policies, a controversy surrounding the Penn Biden Center, and rising campus antisemitism that ultimately led to nationwide calls for her resignation.
The Daily Pennsylvanian compiled a timeline of the University’s defining moments during her year and a half as Penn’s president.
Jan. 13, 2022 — Magill was named the University’s ninth president. At the time, she was serving as the University of Virginia’s provost and executive vice president.
March 4, 2022 — Magill was officially confirmed as Penn’s president by the Board of Trustees, marking the first presidential transition at Penn in 18 years and the third consecutive female president to be inaugurated.
Aug. 29, 2022 — Over 100 protestors interrupted Magill minutes into her first convocation speech for the Class of 2026. The protestors, which included students and the Coalition to Save the UC Townhomes, began chants against the sale of the affordable housing units adjacent to Penn’s campus.
Oct. 21, 2022 — Magill was inaugurated as Penn’s ninth president, commencing her tenure, which started on July 1, 2022.
Festivities included a picnic and concert featuring musicians Sheryl Crow and Jeff Tweedy to celebrate Magill’s inauguration.
Magill and United States Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan spoke about the importance of compromise on the court and free speech on college campuses later that day.
Oct. 22, 2022 — Over 60 protestors affiliated with Fossil Free Penn stormed Franklin Field during Penn’s Homecoming football game, delaying the game by over an hour. 19 people, including 17 students, were arrested by Penn Police after being escorted off the field.
Following the storming of the field, Magill and Board of Trustees Chair Scott Bok released a statement asserting that Penn no longer holds any direct investments in fossil fuel companies.
Jan. 9, 2023 — The Department of Justice announced that it would review classified documents that were found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, a University think tank based in Washington, D.C.
Jan. 18, 2023 — Penn denied allegations of foreign influence at the Penn Biden Center after a congressional inquiry sent to Magill by the United States House Oversight and Accountability Committee.
March 15, 2023 — A supermajority of residential advisors and graduate resident associates filed for union recognition with the National Labor Relations Board, arguing that they were “undervalued and underpaid.”
March 22, 2023 — A DP analysis found that Penn Admissions had quietly refined policies related to legacy admissions.
May 8, 2023 — Over 1,000 Penn Medicine residents and fellows voted to gain union recognition in an 892-110 vote.
June 29, 2023 — After the Supreme Court overturned affirmative action in college admissions, Magill said that the University is studying the court’s opinion to ensure that Penn's admissions program complies with the law.
Sept. 12, 2023 — Magill, joined by Provost John Jackson and School of Arts and Sciences Dean Steven Fluharty, published a statement addressing criticism of the Palestine Writes Literature Festival being held in University spaces.
The festival sparked fear and outrage among some Penn students, alumni, and community members, as well as national Jewish groups who objected to the inclusion of speakers who they said have antisemitic histories.
Sept. 13, 2023 — A spray-painted swastika was discovered in Meyerson Hall in the Stuart Weitzman School of Design, the first of several antisemitic incidents that have eclipsed the fall 2023 academic semester.
Sept. 21, 2023 — Several members of Penn’s Board of Trustees signed an open letter on Sept. 21 to Magill, calling on her to distance the University from the Palestine Writes Literature Festival. The letter was signed by more than 2,000 Penn alumni and community members, including Wharton Board of Advisors Chair Marc Rowan.
Sept. 21, 2023 — An individual vandalized the Penn Hillel building while shouting antisemitic rhetoric one day before the start of the Palestine Writes Literature Festival and a few days before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
Sept. 22, 2023 — Magill condemned the vandalism at Penn Hillel and the swastika discovered at Meyerson Hall, pledging additional steps to protect Jewish students.
Sept. 22, 2023 — Hundreds of students attended Penn Hillel for “Shabbat Together,” an event to promote Jewish unity following the first day of the Palestine Writes Literature Festival and among several antisemitic incidents on campus.
Sept. 28, 2023 — RAs and GRAs voted to unionize under the Local 153 branch of the Office and Professional Employees International Union in a 142-22 vote. The NLRB voted to certify the union election the following week, allowing the students to enter collective bargaining negotiations with the University.
Oct. 4, 2023 — 1,900 doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate student workers, collectively known as the Graduate Employees Together at the University of Pennsylvania, organized a 300-person rally before attempting to deliver a letter to Magill detailing their intention to unionize.
Oct. 11, 2023 — Following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel, Rowan — who is the CEO of Apollo Global Management — called for donors to “close their checkbooks” and for Magill and Bok to resign. Rowan’s letter began a wave of high-profile donors pulling support from the University over the administration’s handling of antisemitism.
Oct. 15, 2023 — 1987 College graduate Jon Huntsman Jr. — a former University trustee, governor of Utah, and United States ambassador — announced that his family would terminate donations to Penn, calling the school “almost unrecognizable.”
Oct. 16, 2023 — 1965 Wharton graduate Ronald Lauder confirmed he would halt donations to the University.
Nov. 1, 2023 — Magill announced a University-wide action plan to combat antisemitism.
Nov. 7, 2023 — Over 20 members of Congress sent a letter to Magill criticizing Penn’s response to the Israel-Hamas War, asserting that the administration’s response was untimely and put the University’s moral compass in question.
Nov. 14, 2023 — The Freedom School for Palestine – a self-identified collection of Penn students, faculty, staff, and alumni – occupied the ground floor of Houston Hall to protest the University’s response to the Israel-Hamas War. The teach-in continues.
Nov. 16, 2023 — The United States Department of Education announced an investigation into Penn over alleged instances of antisemitism on campus.
Nov. 28, 2023- House Committee on Education and The Workforce announces in a press release that Magill will testify in front of Congress about addressing antisemitism on campus.
Nov. 30, 2023- Magill announces “In Principle and Practice: Penn’s Focus on Tomorrow”, a new strategic framework for shaping University initiatives.
Dec. 3, 2023 — A pro-Palestinian march across Philadelphia marched from Center City along Walnut Street adjacent to the University campus. Several businesses were graffitied with messages both condemning Penn and expressing pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel sentiments.
Dec. 5, 2023 — Magill testified before the United States House Committee on Education and the Workforce about antisemitism on college campuses.
In an exchange that made national headlines, Magill said that it was "context dependent" when asked whether individuals calling for the genocide of Jewish people violate Penn’s code of conduct. She received harsh criticism from Penn Hillel, the White House, Pennsylvania’s governor, and the United States Senate delegation, along with many donors, students, and other politicians calling for her removal from Penn’s presidency.
Dec. 5, 2023- Progressive Jewish student group Penn Chavurah and other pro-Palestinian groups protest outside of Magill’s testimony and publish a statement, claiming the hearing was an instance of “political theater”.
Dec. 5, 2023 — Two Penn students filed a lawsuit against the University, alleging that the University has not sufficiently responded to antisemitism on campus.
Dec. 9, 2023 — Magill's resignation from the presidency was announced in an email sent to the Penn community around 4:30 p.m.
Staff reporter Paige Rawiszer contributed reporting.
Donate to The Daily Pennsylvanian to continue to support student journalism. Click here to donate.