The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Following Liz Magill’s response video to her Congressional testimony, there have been mixed reactions from Penn community members. Credit: Chenyao Liu

Penn President Liz Magill's apology video, where she expressed regret for her statements during Tuesday's congressional hearings, failed to quell criticism from Penn community members and politicians.

Her apology video, posted on Dec 6., comes amid mounting scrutiny of her response to a question from Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.). During the hearing, Magill said it was "context dependent" when asked whether individuals calling for the genocide of Jewish people violate Penn’s code of conduct, in reference to student protestors on campus chanting, "Intifada revolution." 

Magill clarified her remarks in the video, stating that this type of speech would fall under “harassment or intimidation.”

Before Magill's apology video was released, Penn Hillel released a statement on Dec. 6 regarding Magill’s testimony, stating that it was “seriously concerned about aspects of Magill’s testimony yesterday; most notably, her inability to state that calls for the genocide of Jews constitute bullying and harassment.” 

Hillel Executive Director Gabe Greenberg did not respond to a request for comment about Magill’s video. 

Penn Chavurah and Penn Against the Occupation criticized Magill’s hearing in a joint statement, citing it as distracting from the ongoing war in Gaza and equating anti-Zionism with antisemitism. 

“We see through the political theater and condemn the hearing for what it was: a diversionary charade meant to distract from the ongoing genocide in Palestine by targeting students of color,” the statement read.

Reactions to Magill’s testimony and apology video have been expressed well beyond Philadelphia and the Penn community. Stefanik shared a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Dec. 7, calling Magill “pathetic” and demanding that she be fired immediately.

Jonathan Greenblatt, the CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, said Magill’s video response “looked like she was speaking under duress,” and that he has been in communication with Magill, according to CNN.

Magill’s testimony and response video showed a lack of dedication to free speech, Executive Vice President of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression Nico Perrino told The Daily Pennsylvanian.

“It’s a shame that Penn and President Magill have decided to abandon any pretense of support for free expression,” Perrino said.

Perrino added that the University's practice of reissuing statements to the community shows that their values are unclear. 

“They are issuing statements and then issuing subsequent statements because they didn’t get it right the first time," Perrino said. "If they just understood what their core values as a university were, and could just appeal to those even when it becomes difficult, they wouldn’t have to keep writing and rewriting these statements."

Magill’s video came shortly before an emergency gathering of Penn trustees on the morning of Dec. 7. The virtual gathering was held at 9 a.m., a University spokesperson told CNN. This was confirmed to the DP by two sources familiar with the matter. After the gathering concluded midday on Thursday, the DP has not confirmed whether it was related to Magill's future at Penn. 

Following Magill’s response video, a petition was filed by Valerie Weiss of Philadelphia, calling for Magill’s resignation. At the time of publication, the petition has over 18,000 signatures and counting.

“President Magill, the time for apologies is over," the petition said. "It is time for you to step down."